One of the most challenging parts of creating a working text for writing courses is in collecting readings. This is because most popularly used readings exist under copyright, and to use them repeatedly would require paying to license the works. To avoid this fee — which is one of the reasons that proprietary readers are so expensive — instructors can use a variety of methods to find openly available resources or to steer students toward resources for which they already pay.

Please note: no advice given here should be taken as legal advice about copyright or fair use. Consult your own campus officials for more information about what is allowed in your courses.

Openly Licensed Readings

Openly Licensed Visual Media

No- or Low-Cost Media (not openly licensed but possibly available)

  • Library database materials may be invaluable for a low-cost course. For example, many schools maintain subscriptions to article databases like the EBSCO or Gale databases, which will provide direct links to news articles. Using links provided through the library web site provides a way to include current events articles into a course through a resource students already pay for (through tuition and fees).
  • Newspaper subscriptions: Some newspapers now offer students free or low-cost subscriptions while they have registered education e-mail addresses. This includes:
    • The Washington Post
    • The Guardian
    • Some campuses may have access to The New York Times through an academic pass or library subscription — ask for details
  • Library video collections: many libraries have subscriptions to video databases that will allow streaming of video clips and entire movies