Continuing Education Course Development


The BCH Department of Education facilitates Continuing Education in the form of live in-person courses, enduring on-demand courses, and internal Regularly Scheduled Series (RSS).  

Live coursesLive courses are time-bound live events that may be attended in-person, online (Zoom or Teams), or both (“hybrid”). Attendees access online and hybrid courses via the Department of Education website. Presentations for a live online course may be recorded and made available to course registrants for up to 4 weeks post-event on the Department of Education website. 
Enduring coursesEnduring courses are self-paced and available on-demand for purchase through the Department of Education course catalog, and are typically accessible for 2-3 yearsEnduring courses may be created from live course/event recordings, or they may be designed and developed from scratch as self-paced courses.
RSS courses
Regularly Scheduled Series (RSS) are live, in-person or online, and may be recorded and archived on the Department of Education website for on-demand access by internal BCH audiences only. 

Course Development

Process for Developing Live in-person or Virtual Course Conference

The table below outlines the general phased process for conducting live events, though activities will vary depending on the particular requirements of each event.

There are several different models for live online conferences, including use of pre-recorded presentations prior to (e.g., flipped classroom), during, or after the live event.

PhasePrimary OwnerActivity
1. Project InitiationDE & Course directorsDefine course goals, scope, and expectations
Review process, milestones, and deliverables.
2. Event PreparationDE & PresentersPre-record & edit content (if applicable)
Conduct technical rehearsals.
3. Event Course directorsSession presentations, workshops, etc.
4. Post-eventDEPost session videos, if applicable.
Run attendance report.

Process for Developing Enduring Online Courses

Enduring materials may be produced as an extension of live virtual or face-to-face conferences, or they may be designed and developed from inception as an online-only course. The process for developing on-demand enduring courses has five main phases.

1. Project InitiationProject is reviewed and assessed for marketability and copyright liability (see copyright section).
2. Pre-productionSpeaker orientation
Image copyright review
Slide Formatting
Citation Formatting
Image research & revisions
Reference review, research and revision
3. ProductionRecord & edit presentation, if necessary
4. Course BuildTranscribe presentation audio
Proofread transcription 
Create course shell
Upload course content
5. Quality Assurance & ReleaseEditorial and technical review and approval


Project timelines for online courses vary widely with the dependencies described above. Assuming no significant delays due to those dependencies, the time frame for single 30-60 minute didactic presentation is 10 weeks.

Copyright Overview

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of intellectual property law that protects original works of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.

Copyright gives the originator of such work the exclusive legal right to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, for a fixed number of years. The copyright holder can assign the copyright to another person or organization. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed. A Work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form.

How Does Copyright Apply to my Presentation?

Most speakers include images in their presentations. Images may include photos of clinical conditions, diagnostic images (e.g., scan, scopes, sonograms), charts, graphs, tables, etc. Images used in presentations published on the Department of Education course site require:

  • Ownership, license, public domain, or permission to use the image for commercial purposes
  • Removal of Protected Health Information
  • Consent from anyone who can be identified in a photo (or the parent/guardian of minors).
    NOTE: consent is not required for anyone who has been de-identified, e.g., by blurring or blacking out eyes.

Access does NOT equal permission!

Just because images are freely available online doesn’t mean they are not copyrighted.

Online enduring courses do NOT qualify for Fair Use due to the fact that they are commercial products distributed to an external audience.

Images incorporated in a presentation that is published online for a fee may – or may not – be subject to copyright. There are several considerations for determining whether or not an image is subject to copyright, as illustrated by this decision tree.

Policy Governing Use of Images


Just because materials are freely available online doesn’t mean they are not copyrighted! Use of creative work owned by others in enduring online commercial products puts Boston Children’s Hospital at risk for copyright infringement.


The following are required for the display of any visual content such as tables, charts, graphs, photos, scans, illustrations, etc. on our site:

  • Rights, license, or permission to use the work for commercial purposes, (see usable images below).
  • Removal of Protected Health Information from diagnostic images (scans, sonograms, etc.)
  • Consent from anyone who can be identified in a photo (or the parent/guardian of minors). NOTE: consent is not required for anyone who has been de-identified, e.g., by blurring or blacking out eyes.
  • Source information for the work in question, including URL (if applicable) and author/owner (if known).

 Conditions under which copyrighted images may be used

  • You created and own the image
  • BCH owns the image – e.g., you or a BCH colleague created it in the course of clinical activity
  • Explicit permission to use in commercial products has been granted through:
    • A paid license
    • Creative Commons or other license
  • The image is in the public domain. This includes:
    • Some works created by the government
    • Works published in the US prior to 1923, and maybe after, depending on publication details

Images that are NOT subject to copyright

  • Diagnostic imagery (output from monitors, radiological images, sonograms, scopes etc.)
    • PHI must be removed.
  • Representations of plain data that has not been creatively enhanced.
    • Plain bar charts, pie charts, scatter plots and other presentations of data may be OK to include, but we will need source information to make this determination and cite appropriately.

Permissions Process

A structured process is necessary to ensure we adhere to copyright guidelines, and reduce project timelines. For any material that you did not create or photograph yourself (“third-party content”), or do not have license or permission to publish online for commercial purposes:

The images is NOT essential for communicating presentation content (e.g. decorative images, comics)
Remove image from presentation.
Images is essential to the substance of your presentationTry and obtain permission for use from copyright holder, or
Create an substitute image

Note: these are resource intensive processes.

How to Find Open Access/ Creative Commons materials

Google Search:

  • Select Images under the search bar to limit your search to images.
  • Then click “Tools,”>”Usage Rights”>”labeled for reuse”.
  • Be sure to save the URL of each item.

Creative Commons search: Be sure to save the URL of each item.

OPENi (Open Access Biomedical Image Search Engine):

Hardin MD Public Domain Medical Gallery:

History of Medicine

CDC Public Health Image Library (PHIL)

MedPix (searchable online open access medical image database):