Work is currently underway to manage and rationalise the web estate.
The University owns and manages the domain www.ed.ac.uk but a devolved approach in managing the University web estate has resulted in a growth of websites and associated web applications.
An audit of University infrastructure in September 2017 found that there are around 1,600 University of Edinburgh websites, only one of which is the corporate University Website (www.ed.ac.uk/*). The corporate University website contains 400 sub-sites of its own.
The other website domains are split between circa 1,300 sub-domains (for example, law.ed.ac.uk) and 300 top-level domains (for example, www.mediblog.ed.ac.uk) depending on the business unit’s affiliation to the University. The suppliers, technology base or quality of these solutions is not well known and it’s a bit of a wild west at the moment.
We’ve had some questions about the legal bits of our University of Edinburgh lecture recording policy. I’m not a lawyer, but I know some good ones.
Here, thanks to our excellent Policy Officer Neil, is our explanation:
The policy task group considered the intellectual property and data protection implications extensively during development and we’re confident that the new lecture recording policy is legally compliant. We took detailed advice from the University’s lawyers and Data Protection Officer, from the School of Law’s academic IP expert and from the ISG Copyright Service, in addition to the evolving versions of the very helpful JISC guidance.
In terms of Data Protection:
Uses: The policy clearly defines and limits the purposes that a lecture recording may be used for, including an “essential purpose” of allowing the students on a Course to review their lectures.
Lawful basis: We’re using legitimate interests of the University in providing the service to its staff and students as the lawful basis for processing personal data within the Media Hopper Replay service. The Data protection Officer and lawyers were very clear that this is the appropriate basis (and that the consent lawful basis would actually not be appropriate for a number of reasons, including ensuring consent is freely given, given the power imbalance between the University and either a member of staff or a student, and some of the implications for implementing any withdrawal of consent once a recording has been made.
Sensitive data: There is a clear requirement in the policy to obtain written consent from a data subject before recording sensitive personal data.
Retention: There is a clear retention period and disposal policy for the recordings.
We have undertaken a Data Protection Impact Assessment and there will be an updated privacy statement for the service that will both be published in due course.
In terms of Intellectual Property:
Rights in recording: The policy recognises that the University, the lecturer and any students who make a contribution to the lecture will each hold some intellectual property rights in the recording. (The University is the producer and at least in part the director of a recording, and the lecturer holds performer’s rights in the recording.) In a collaborative approach, these rights will be retained by the respective rights holders who will licence the University and/or the lecturer to use the recording for the defined purposes.
Further uses: It spells out that the University, the lecturer, a student or anyone else may not use the recording for any other use without further agreement from all the rights holders.
Lecturer opt-out: If a lecturer does not wish the University to use a recording containing their performer’s rights, they will be entitled to arrange not to make the recording in the first place. The lecturer has complete control of whether or not to record a lecture, whether to pause recording, and whether and when to release the lecture to the students.
Student opt-out: It provides for students not to be recorded or – if necessary – to request their contribution deleted, and for students to know in advance which of their lectures will or will not be recorded. We understand there are practical limitations on keeping students out of shot in some smaller venues but haven’t seen specific problems in practice.
Third party copyright: The policy reiterates the standards required in terms of permission, licence and citation when using third party copyright materials in a lecture, whether or not it’s recorded. The ISG Copyright Service will produce specific guidance on use of films, broadcasts or musical excerpts within recorded lectures and on openly licencing recordings if preferred.
University of Edinburgh actually has a long history of widening participation initiatives, but our institutional memory does seem to get lost along the way. Luckily we have splendid university archives.
‘The WOW programme was aimed at women planning to return to work –most often after pregnancy and years of domestic ‘employment’–, and sought to provide training opportunities as well as guidance over how to approach the job market, what type of opportunities might be available, and what obstacles may be encountered.’
Joanna first attended this programme, after having been stuck at home with us lot for many years, and then she became the course leader. I used to visit her in her office in a basement in Buccleuch Place. She’s very pleased to know that in my role in ISG I’ve been able to find places for ‘women returners‘ in our organisation.
After ‘WOW ‘and ‘Second Chance to Learn’, and ‘Return to Work or Study’, she then led for many years the University of Edinburgh Access Programme for part-time adult learners who wished to return to education to study humanities, social sciences or art and design.
Nice to see these things coming around again.
*just a note to say lest you be concerned, that although I found my father in the archives after his death, my mother is still very much alive.
In some cities, such as Edinburgh, the university may be one of the largest tech employers in the city. At Edinburgh we have around 600 staff in IT roles. That makes us a big player in tech employment. We also get the benefit of having an even bigger sister standing right beside us. The University of Edinburgh as a whole is a huge employer and a huge part of the public sector workforce. The terms, conditions and perks which we as information services are able to offer to our potential employees are made possible by virtue of being a small part of a huge organisation.
As well as a range of flexible working options and attention paid to being family-friendly most universities offer generous maternity and parental leave and arrangements for sick-pay. Although many universities do not offer as much on-site childcare facilities as some would like, I suspect it is still way ahead of some tech employers.
University holiday allowances are pretty good. 40 days a year is about the average for most institutions (including national holidays and closure days). Equal pay schemes and university unions ensure that salaries and pensions are decent. Universities are also able to offer permanent or open-ended contracts for IT staff. Other industries might offer more in terms of up-front salary, but there are many extra benefits to working in a university . We have information about staff benefits and reward calculator which we use to show the real value of our arrangements.
Universities are learning organisations, if you need to grow and develop in your job training is usually offered for both the skills needed for your job and to assist career and personal development. There are mentoring schemes and career development and promotion tracks.
The climate for equality and diversity is also generally good, most universities have a very progressive stance on equality and diversity in terms of both recruitment and working environment. The very fact that there are high profile initiatives underway in higher education for students and academics contributes to the social environment or culture constructed in universities in which the professional staff work. That is to say, IT professionals working in universities benefit from large initiatives such as Athena SWAN which are given resource and investment by the university.
There is a range of less talked about perks which I think make universities great places to work.
1) Universities have sport facilities, theatres, staff clubs, art galleries, museums, music venues and shops which are there to be enjoyed by staff at discounted rates, often for free. There are very few employers who can boast such a range of amenities.
2) You get to working on a filmset. I worked for several years at Oxford and you couldn’t turn a corner without bumping into a film crew, catering vans and extras dressed in medieval outfits. Or inspector Morse. Or a boy wizard.
3) Culture and collegiality abound. Every evening all across campus there are research seminars, events, book launches, receptions, openings, exhibitions to go to which are open to all staff and anyone interested. Its a lovely way to meet people and network.
4) The festival city is on your doorstep. Literally. Your office may be requisitioned at short notice for a comedy show .
5) Your children and the children of all your friends will have access to the extensive cultural capital at your fingertips when they need to find work experience for school.
6) Eduroam wireless will be provided to you free of charge as you move around the world. You can sidle up to any university, library, hospital or museum building in any city and pick up free wifi.
7) We are fighting the good fight for truth, facts and against news. You get to be part of this.
The Academic Blogging service directly underpins the “Influential Voices” theme within our Web Strategy 2018-2021. This theme aims to: “Give our staff and students an online presence to publish and promote their work, and exchange ideas with organisations and communities globally”.
The service will give our staff and students the tools and support that they need to publish online effectively, to develop a digital identity, and make more visible a range of authentic voices from across our academic community that are identifiably connected to our institution.
Our staff and students will be able to link their academic blogs into their profiles on social media or academic networking sites, improving the profile and visibility of the University across online channels. Staff and PGR students will also be able to link to their official University profile on EdWeb. Selections of blogs can be presented on our web pages to represent the range of learning, teaching or research activities that take place in a particular area. Content from blogs can be syndicated by ourselves, or by our partners or external organisations to create curated selections of content, reflecting the richness of our institutional activity.
When looking at equality and diversity drivers for change in organisations, there is some literature which suggests that external accountability , the impression the public have about your organisation, or investor or client pressure, may be a consideration for senior management. There may be concern for reputational damage with the wider business and society, and this risk could be mitigated for instance by the company’s success in winning a prize for gender equality .
We are finalists in the ‘Employer of the Year’ category in the Scotland Women in Technology Awards 2018 to be announced on Wednesday 24th October 2018 in Glasgow and for ‘Diversity Project of The Year’ in the Women in IT Excellence Awards taking place on27 November at Finsbury Square, London.
Another excellent learning technology workshop from University of Edinburgh at ALT conference will be Data Skills for All
Most of our UK universities already have the Digimap Service, but I suspect few learning technologists have any idea how it can be used. The subscription often belongs to the Library, or to just one academic department so the power of the tools are not being utilised.
Co-created with academic and service users it enables students to use and understand data, to learn how to present it, and in doing so, to develop critical thinking through the use and interrogation of data.
Learning technologists who work closely in partnership with staff and students to deliver a technology enhanced curriculum can play a key role in ensuring that students learn appropriate data skills to apply in authentic learning task situations.
Participants will have the opportunity to understand how the platform and service is already being used, and to engage with census data to understand the range and versatility of the service.
This workshop will be of benefit to both FE and HE practitioners, who need to support students to gain critical data skills and spatial literacy that are already essential in the work place, as well as increase their ability to interrogate data and understand it.
What happens when things go wrong? How resilient is the relationship between edtech and educators when we are tested by strikes, snow and sedition? How do we best learn from critical incidents? Can breakdowns in trust be repaired? What will we do when it happens again?
The relationship between professional learning technologists and academic colleagues is a finely balanced one. Professional learning technologists offer technology solutions to teaching problems and encourage innovations in pedagogy and learning. Learning technologists bring technology into classroom spaces on campus and online and ask colleagues to embrace it. Learning technologists assure academic colleagues them that the technology is there to help not replace them. We ask for trust, understanding, communication. As part of the business, however, our IT services are a key in ensuring business continuity, supporting students beyond contact hours and mitigating the impact of disruption to time and place.
Early 2018 saw an unprecedented period of industrial action at many UK universities. Never before in the 25 years of ALT have so many colleagues protested for so long against their employers, and never before has there been so much technology available to those employers to mitigate the impact of that strike. Where should learning technologists loyalties lie when they are asked to provide systems such as VLEs and lecture recording services which can be used to keep the business of learning and teaching running? When support is withdrawn and communication breaks down what agency do you have?
In addition to industrial action by learning technologists and academic colleagues who are members of the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) in March we also saw extreme weather events across the UK resulting in school and university closures which left many staff to stay at home and work remotely and many students to access their materials in distance learning mode. As the strikes and the snow dragged on the edtech polices and practise in many large institutions were tested. The UCU were vocal and vexed by the use of recorded lectures with or without expressed permission. Large collections of openly published lectures and learning materials, which had once been hailed as assets of great value came under scrutiny as strike breakers and motivations for institutional support for OER were questioned.
Session content: evaluation and reflection
This experimental and exploratory session will give ALT participants the chance to consider their own ethical positions with regard to strike action, business continuity, policy and practice in educational institutions and learn from insights and lessons learned by the learning technologist community. The session will be of particularly interest to CMALT holders who reflect on their own professional practice and colleagues who hold responsible roles as service owners, service operations managers and senior managers.
It is hoped that this session will be the start of a wider, longer conversation about disruptive events, professional roles, management negotiations, actions short of a strike, and the impact on academic buy-in for technology which disrupts learning and teaching.
Schön, D. (2008). The reflective practitioner : How professionals think in action.
Tripp, D. (1993). Critical incidents in teaching : Developing professional judgement. London: Routledge.
Lam, W. (2002). Ensuring business continuity. IT Professional, 4(3), 19-25.
Lecture Capture Emerges as Key Resource for University Business Continuity Planning; Echo360 Sponsors October 1st Business Continuity Planning Webinar for Higher Education. (2009, September 23). Internet Wire, p. Internet Wire, Sept 23, 2009.
McGuinness, M., & Marchand, R. (2014). Business continuity management in UK higher education: A case study of crisis communicationin the era of social media. Business continuity management in UK higher education: a case study of crisis communication in the era of social media. International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, 17 (4). 291 – 310.