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Streaming Videos

This guide contains information about accessing JMU's Streaming Video Collection


Using streaming video in your class is different than using physical formats, such as DVDs.

This guide can help you consider your different options.

Options for Streaming Videos for Your Class

There are several different ways to obtain streaming videos. The best method will depend on how much of the video you'd like to use, whether it was created for educational or entertainment purposes, and what the terms of the streaming license are.

If the video that you want to show is not available for streaming through any of the below five options, your liaison librarian can work with you to identify appropriate alternatives to support your learning goals.

1. Link to streaming videos from the JMU Libraries collection.

JMU Libraries has a large collection of streaming media. Go to Find Streaming Media to learn how to search for videos that are already available in our collection.

2. Request a new purchase for streaming video.

Submit a request to purchase a new title. It can take several months to negotiate a streaming license. Some videos are not eligible for streaming licensing at all. Our team will work with you through the options and help you explore appropriate alternatives.

3. Assign third-party streaming services or freely available content.

Many feature films (i.e. popular Hollywood titles) and original programming from specific companies are not available for universities to license. Your personal subscription to a streaming video service generally does not allow you to show a video from that service in class. A notable exception is that Netflix allows educational screenings of Netflix Original documentaries, with some restrictions. Learn more from Netflix.

If students will need to watch many different films, it may be worth asking them to subscribe to a third-party streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Some platforms offer discounted student pricing for streaming services. Please keep in mind that this may not be affordable for some students.

If students will need to watch a small number of films, renting or buying these individually may be cheaper than a streaming subscription. Apple iTunes and Amazon Prime Video are two common platforms for online video rentals.

Documentaries and other educational videos can also be found for free through video hosting platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, TED, and PBS. A list of free video sites is available from the University of Virginia.

The content on both free and subscription-based video services changes frequently. Before assigning a film, check whether it is still available.

4. Request existing media be made available streaming.

If you own a personal copy of the video or it is available through JMU Libraries on DVD (or another physical format), it may be possible for the Libraries to digitize some of the video to share with your class. Go to the Instructional Use of Media page to learn more and submit a request. Please be aware that we cannot fulfill all digitization requests due to copyright and fair use requirements. We will not digitize items on Blu-ray.

5. Host media content yourself.

Canvas allows you to host media files up to a certain size for your class. After doing a fair use evaluation, you may decide to host essential video content for your class. More information about this option: