Supporting teachers and students during COVID-19

July 8, 2020

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Copyright Agency has worked with the education sector to minimise disruptions and alleviate some of the pressure resulting from a radical transformation of teaching practices.

The statutory education licence has been instrumental in the shift to online learning. Its broad and flexible coverage enabled educators to focus on the important business of teaching, without having to worry about permissions. This in turn has allowed students to easily access high quality resources wherever and whenever they needed – one less disruption to their learning.

FLEX, our online tool for preparing copyright-compliant course reading material, has granted more than twenty educational institutions access to digital original files from major publishers. The savings on time and effort are most welcome in a period of upheaval and uncertainty. As Kerrie Stevens, Director of Library Services at Alphacrucis College, says: “FLEX provides peace of mind that we’re adhering to the allowable limits when providing links to content for our students studying remotely.”

With lessons taking place at home rather than at school, our Reading Australia initiative proved to be a valuable resource for teachers and parents alike. There are more than 200 full units of work for English and literacy, freely available online and mapped to the Australian Curriculum, to keep students engaged and on track with their schooling from home.

Recognising that literacy and a love of reading should not suffer during the pandemic, the Australian Publishers Association (APA), Australian Society of Authors (ASA) and National Copyright Unit (NCU) announced a special arrangement for school storytimes. The move to allow teachers to read to their students was supported by many individual publishers and authors.

Finally, in March we agreed to pause both the hardcopy and electronic use surveys to allow the situation in schools and universities to stabilise. This did not affect June distributions, as they were based on earlier survey data (see here and here). The timeline for resuming surveys will be reviewed in August. Given the large amount of historical and other data we have, there are various options for future distributions. We will inform members of our approach once we have had an opportunity to assess them.

Australia’s educators have risen to the occasion during the pandemic, going above and beyond the call of duty for their students. We are grateful for their ongoing diligence, and will continue to offer licensing solutions and resources that support them in an ever-evolving situation.

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