Skip to Main Content

Using Videos for Teaching and Learning

Best practices for incorporating videos into teaching.

Assign Videos to Watch Outside of Class

The Libraries license individual titles and subscribe to numerous streaming services that you can assign your students to watch outside of class. These videos can also be searched directly through the Libraries’ website or from within the platforms themselves.  When you find a film you would like to assign, you can link to it from the Moodle LMS or the Canvas LMS.


Something I am looking for is not available through the Libraries' streaming resources.  How can I request a purchase?

The Libraries currently have a limited number of tokens available for acquiring new titles from Kanopy, Swank, and Docuseek. Requests can be made direction from the Kanopy, Swank, and Docuseek platforms. These requests will go directly to a library staff member who will evaluate the request and let you know if it can be licensed or not. All purchases are currently limited to films that are required for a course. While the Libraries' are normally able to license titles from other distributors, due to budgetary constraints these are the only platforms from which we can currently purchase licenses.   You can also make requests by sending and email to

What if a film cannot be licensed by the Libraries?

If the Libraries are unable to license the titles you need, check on such free platforms as Internet Archive or paid services such as Hulu, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, Criterion Channel, or Great Courses Plus. The Libraries cannot subscribe to any of these consumer streaming services, but you could ask your students to sign up to watch an individual film or subscribe to a service for the duration of your course. Free trials may also be available. 

Some of my students are learning remotely from other countries. Can the Libraries' streaming services be accessed outside of the United States?

Yes. The Libraries' databases and subscription services should work just about anywhere in the world. The only exception to this are films within the Sony Pictures Classics channel on Alexander Street Press, which are only available within the U.S. If your students are having trouble accessing one of our services, please contact, and we will work with our Electronic Resources Team to try to resolve the issue.

What about streaming resources like Netfix, Hulu, YouTube, Criterion Collection, and Internet Archive?  Can students in other countries access those?

Not necessarily.  Depending upon where they are located, websites may be blocked or the films available may differ because of local copyright or licensing restrictions.  If you have students learning from other countries, it is recommended that you stick to resources available through the Libraries to ensure that all students have equal access to the same resources.

What if a DVD is not available on any streaming platforms?  Can the Libraries' make a digital copy?

Maybe.  Decisions about making digital transfers of items in our collection will be made on a case by case basis.  If it is determined that a transfer can be made, it will be shared through PrattTalks for a limited time and will only be available for students enrolled in a specific course. Contact for more information.

Personal Streaming Services

Can I use my Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Criterion Collection accounts in the classroom?

No. You cannot screen films from these platforms, even for educational purposes.The terms of service for these sites state that the content is licensed for private, home use only and CANNOT be viewed by anyone but the account holder except with express written permission from the site. Violating these terms can result in a suspension of your account.

Netflix has recently released a list of films for which they are granting users an "educational license" to screen in classrooms. These films are documentaries which have been deemed "culturally significant" by Netflix and are the only films which can be screened without prior permission. NB: Ava Duvernay's Thirteenth is currently available to stream for free on YouTube.

Can the library purchase a subscription to these sites?

No. These sites do not allow for institutional purchases of accounts and generally only have the capability of two or three people watching simultaneously.  The library does, however, subscribe to the streaming platforms Kanopy, Alexander Street Press, Electronic Arts Intermix, and Docuseek.

Can I still assign content which is only distributed on these sites?

Yes. Although films on these sites cannot be screened in the classroom, professors can assign their students movie-watching homework. Like the purchasing of textbooks, students may be required in the syllabus to purchase a short-term Netflix subscription or rent a streaming title from Amazon Prime in order to watch these films.

  Report a Problem with this Page