Short course design - information resources: Home

This guide is for staff who are involved in the design of online non credit-bearing short courses

Most of the licence agreements for library resources (e-books, e-journals, databases, digitised content and streamed films and documentaries) do not cover use by students studying on short courses and  the resources that you might normally recommend in your teaching will not be available to access. Library resources should not be downloaded and placed into Canvas.

This guide provides advice on some alternative resources which you may wish to consider using or recommending to students on your short course.

Please contact us if you have any further questions , require help in identifying suitable content or further guidance on copyright.

Freely available material

Below are some suggestions of materials which are freely available to access and might be suitable for inclusion into your course

  1. Academic publications which are available open access (e.g. journal articles, scholarly books and dissertations). Find out more about these materials and some of the tools you can use in order to help you identify these quickly.
  2. Digitised primary sources (usually out of copyright) - examples include our own digitised rare books, National Library of Scotland Digital Gallery, UK Medical Heritage Library, British Library's 19th century collection and Digital Collections, Europeana, Library of Congress Digital Collections, Digital Bodleian
  3. Freely available policy papers, briefings, datasets etc from Think Tanks and professional organisations
  4. Creative commons material

When recommending these types of resources it is best to link to them from Canvas unless it clearly indicates that permission is granted to upload content and store within an online learning environment




Using a set text

This option is most likely to suit short courses where there is one core textbook which is key to the course and is likely to be of most relevance to the sciences or social sciences rather than the arts. 

  1. Recommend the book for student purchase (advising students of places they can purchase the book in print or electronic format)
  2. Purchase access for students. Electronic copies of textbooks for individual use can usually be found on one of the following platforms, VitalSource, Kortext or Bibliu. The cost of these will depend on student numbers and purchase would need to be made each time a new cohort starts.
  3. Consider using Perlego which provides students with unlimited access to over 1,000,000 professional and academic e-books. You could also recommend students subscribe to Perlego themselves which can be done on a monthly basis and may fit better with a short course than an annual subscription.


Alternative options

If you're unable to identify suitable materials listed on this guide and wish to discuss digitisation of existing Library or University Collections or the possibility of negotiating with publishers/suppliers for a separate licence to acquire materials then please contact us.

These options (additional licences and library staff time to negotiate them or to digitise the materials) would need to be costed in at the course proposal stage. Working with suppliers to negotiate extensions to licences can take several months so planning well in advance for this is required