Tips & Good Practices: Canvas

We suggest the following strategies to support the appropriate use of materials via the Canvas learning management system.

Please note:

  • Yale has implemented appropriate security and authentication measures in University-approved digital education tools. If you choose to use other digital education tools, you must still comply with Yale’s Information Technology Appropriate Use Policy. Violations of this policy may result in both disciplinary and legal penalties.
  • These statements are not legal advice and are intended simply to help you design your course in accordance with University policies and procedures and the law.


  • Use content (in any format) that are licensed by the Yale Library
  • Look for resources that have been licensed through Creative Commons. (See the Creative Commons website for information about works that have been made publicly available by their creators.) These materials require attribution but are otherwise made freely available and in some cases allow modification of the original.
  • Link to or embed images from the Yale Library’s digital collections. Refer to the Yale Library’s guide for citing images for examples of how to provide attributions appropriately
  • Notify students and instructional staff who have access to your course site that copyrighted materials and student education records may not be copied, shared or redistributed without appropriate permission.
  • Review Yale University’s guidelines and policies

Other helpful strategies

  • Provide access to restricted content only to students registered for the course and other instructional staff (teaching assistants or guest lecturers, for example). Students may have access to these materials throughout the academic term. Remember that even if the site is password-protected, you may be at risk of a copyright violation if someone not enrolled in the course (including other Yale students) is provided access to your course site.
  • Use only the amount of copyrighted materials necessary that meets the educational need. This can be demonstrated most clearly if the resources are included within course modules that integrate associated readings, discussion questions, assignments and related materials.
  • Provide attribution for both the original creator and the copyright holder (these may be different persons and entities) when using the work of others. In general, you should assume that “found” resources and materials obtained from the Internet are still under copyright.
  • Whenever possible, link to materials that already reside online, such as resources that are made available through the Yale Library’s collection of digital resources. Typically, these items can be linked directly to your Canvas course by using the Library’s Course Reserves system. Questions about the Library’s Course Reserves service should be directed to the appropriate Library staff member listed here.
  • Remember that some images, such as company logos, are usually protected by trademark law, not copyright (or in rare cases, both). You may use these for educational purposes to identify a product, for example, but you should attribute them to the trademark owner.