Sometimes, people look to me for advice and wisdom.
My advice today, to anyone who works in a role similar to mine is: try to avoid being in an institution-wide consultation about an opt-out lecture recording policy at a time of national industrial action.
We are consulting on a draft new policy at Edinburgh. It’s a good policy. It’s better than previous policies and it’s been developed over many months with input from across the University.
I am a strong believer that if you are a member of a union you should remain a member of that union even when you become senior management. The reason for this is that I believe you get better decision making when there is diversity around the board table, and union members are part of that diversity of thinking. Having some managers in the room who are union members means you get better management which is more inclusive and considerate of a range of staff views. The hope, is that with this better-informed thinking, comes fewer staff-management stand-offs.
Because of this, I have ensured that the campus unions have been part of the policy consultation since the start. A UCU rep has been part of our task group.
What have learned:
‘We can just use recorded lectures‘ is the knee-jerk go-to response of university management when threatened by an academic walk-out, but that really isn’t what this is all about. The University believes that having more lectures recorded and offering a consistent staff and student experience around that service, benefits us all in the longer term. That is why they have invested.
For colleagues at Edinburgh University, please let me assure you: The new policy is predicated on the idea that we are all in this together.
The new policy clearly states the essential purpose and aims to address a number of concerns. In the Policy Point 1. The statement of the “essential purpose” in the policy is to reassure lecturers that the intention of the service is the provision of recordings for students to review, and that this is limited to the students on the Course for which the lecture is delivered i.e. those who were entitled and expected to be present at the original lecture.
In 1.5 it clearly states that to use the lecture for business continuity , such as a volcanic eruption leaving everyone in the wrong place around the world*, or loss of a major teaching building, or absence of a major teaching person, the university can use the recording ‘if the lecturer and other participants agree, and as specified within business continuity plans relevant to the School. ‘ People on strike would presumably not agree. That is the reassurance we have been giving colleagues.
The essential purpose referred to within this policy is to allow the students undertaking a taught Course to review recordings of lectures given as part of that Course. The policy also permits a lecturer to re-use recordings of their lectures for other relevant and appropriate purposes, if all the participants in the recording agree to this.
Use of recordings
1 The University will provide recordings of lectures to students on taught Courses, where possible, to aid their learning through review and reflection. These recordings are not, other than in very exceptional circumstances, a replacement for lecture attendance or other contact hours.
1.1 The Lecture Recording Policy Privacy Statement details how the University will use and share personal data in relation to the lecture recording service.
1.2 Recording of sensitive personal data as defined in current legislation shall not take place without the explicit written consent of the person(s) to whom the data relate.
1.3 The University will provide lecture recordings to students on the Course(s) to which the lecture relates. By default, it will also provide access to the staff associated with the Course(s) in the Virtual Learning Environment. The lecturer may restrict staff access to a recording further if required.
1.4 The University encourages teaching innovation, sharing and re-use of recorded lectures where relevant and appropriate. A lecturer may publish a recording of their lecture as an open educational resource, with appropriate modifications and safeguards, including an appropriate attribution, licence and having obtained any permissions required from other participants or third parties whose intellectual property resides within the recording. Guidance on this is contained within the Open Educational Resources Policy and Website Accessibility Policy. Staff and students may otherwise only publish or share restricted-access lecture recordings with the permission of the School that owns the Course and of the lecturer and any other participants in the recording.
1.5 A School may use a past recording held within the lecture recording service in exceptional situations to provide continuity, if the lecturer and other participants agree, and as specified within business continuity plans relevant to the School.
1.6 The recordings and any associated metadata will not be used by the University for staff performance review or disciplinary processes except in the case of alleged gross misconduct. A lecturer may however choose to use recordings of their own lectures for these purposes or to allow peer observation of their teaching.
1.7 Learning Analytics from the lecture recording service may be used in accordance with the Learning Analytics policy.
* I was first convinced of the value of lecture recording ( and video conferencing) when that Icelandic volcano stranded the staff and students of my university all around the world. There were no flights in and out of Europe and, as an international research institution, we were all widely scattered. The impact on teaching, and the research activities and conferences for those few weeks was considerable.
I find myself writing papers to support the institution-wide roll out of lecture capture again. You’d think I would have nailed this by now.
I always find it interesting to note that on the one hand colleagues are concerned to see evidence that lecture capture will not affect lecture attendance and on the other that it should be proven to bring about new ways of teaching. So it should bring no change and yet bring change. Which is a big ask for any tech.
At University of Edinburgh we talk a lot about ‘digital shift’. That the digital should transform and offer new ways of learning rather than just replicate the old ways. So my challenge is to show how students will learn in new ways using the digital version of a lecture while still valuing the analogue lecture above all.
I have been looking for information about how students attend lectures, and about how they use online materials. Recorded lectures are the digital version of the lecture and are available online as resources.
It seems like in general, the universities are on the right track. 59 UK Universities replied to the UCISA TEL survey saying they have lecture capture systems to create digital recordings, and students replied to the Student Lifestyle survey to say that they rarely miss lectures. They also want even more online materials.
61% of students said they never missed a lecture, up from 52% who said the same thing in our 2010 survey. But 38% of respondents admit they do miss the occasional lecture, with students failing to turnup for around one teaching engagement a week on average (0.9). Those doing medicine or a health-related subject are most likely to have a 100% attendance record (74%), despite their relatively high number of lectures. Those doing arts and humanities subjects are also more conscientious than most (68% never missed a lecture), while maths, computing and technology students are most inclined to miss lecture (52% regularly skipped a class). The majority of students (55%) state that they use online resources over traditional text documents (23% favoured these), with 21% stating they use a mix.
Those who most heavily relied on online study resources were, unsurprisingly, those doing maths, computing and technology (48% used online resources for most of their study) compared to 22% of trainee medics and 26% of law students. Men are slightly more likely to rely heavily on online materials (57% said they used more online resources) than women (52% did), while second and third year students (55%) were also greater users of online resources than first-years (52%).
Only 8% of students used standard textbooks, journals and photocopied hand-outs for most of their study, though this rose to 10% for those reading business and management or a social science subject. The survey indicates 43% of students said they would prefer to use online study resources – slightly fewer than the 55% who actually use this method – compared to 26% of respondents who said they wanted to use paper-based resources in general, with 38% stating a preference to use both.
We have invested in a new media asset management service for the University. Our vision is to enable the University to meet the full breadth of learning and teaching, assessment, research and engagement activities, by providing usable tools for making, editing, storing, sharing and disseminating video and audio files.
The new media asset management system will be delivered using the Kaltura video platform. Kaltura is a market leader in this space and the University has made a significant long-term investment in order to deliver our learning and teaching vision, and our strategies around distance education and research engagement. We will provide a central service to support the efficient use and management of media assets from all across the university. All staff and students will have access to the service.
The new service will support a wide range of activities, and we will be developing a suite of training and awareness opportunities over the next 3 months to promote these. Some of the most popular activities include:
Flipping the classroom – desktop recording tools can be used to pre-record media for students to watch in advance of contact time.
Enhancing feedback – use the service to record personalised video feedback and share with students either individually or to a group. Ask students to record and share with their peers or tutors, or use commenting tools to crowdsource feedback.
Using Video for assessment: Stimulate our student’ creativity and develop digital skills by tasking students to record their own media and submit it for feedback or assessment through our VLEs.
Showcasing our best – a web based video portal with curated channels of content will allow us to share within our University community, or with the wider world.
Strengthening the link between research and teaching – find high quality outputs from research projects in the video portal and use web based editing tools to clip out the best bits for use in teaching and learning.
Best of breed editing tools – web-based editing tools will make it simple to reuse, adapt and update learning materials.
At your desk recording – built in desktop recording tools allow you to create and share media quickly and easily.
Multi-platform broadcast strategy – publish to appropriate audiences simply and quickly through our VLEs, the University website, and other platforms such as YouTube and iTunesU.
Support accessibility and inclusion – use recording tools to easily provide information in an alternative format, and use transcripts, subtitles to make our content as accessible as possible.
Create Open Educational Resources – using built in copyright and publishing workflows you can make open learning resources widely available online.
Gaining insight and understanding – analytics will allow us to understand exactly what media is engaging to our audiences and what impact it is having.
Be present elsewhere – stream a lecture or presentation to a remote location, for example a remote conference.
Student revision – holding a library of recorded lectures and other content that can be used for revision and ‘listen again’ will better support our students.
We plan to make the service available in late Semester 1 with a more limited set of features and training available, as an ‘early-adopters’ pilot phase. We will use Semester 2 to refine the service and continue training, awareness and community building activities ready for full scale launch in May 2016. This will allow us to check that our procedures, support and training are effective.
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Do you have an eye for detail and a love of facts? Are you an experienced Wikimedian with experience working with the Wikimedia community? What would you do to engage our staff and students in editing, contributing and sharing open knowledge? We are recruiting a Wikimedian in Residence to work in Information Services alongside our learning technologists, archivists, librarians and information literacy teams. Following our first successful editathon events we now need your help to establish a network of Wikimedians on campus and to embed digital skills and open knowledge activities in learning and teaching across the University.
University of Edinburgh is about to embark on a large scale media recording and management project, not unlike those going on at many of our peer universities. We aim to improve our media systems capability to support recording, storing, streaming and managing the increasing collection of audio and video assets used across the collegiate university for learning, teaching, research and public engagement. The existing infrastucture is outmoded and does not offer to the university the service and functionality users currently expect. Failing to refresh the existing systems represents a risk to the university, and to IS, in not being able to respond to business needs of the schools and colleges who wish to make more use of audio and video online for an improved student experience.
We will also explore approaches to the publishing of resources under intellectual property licenses ( eg Creative Commons) that permits use and repurposing ( re-use, revision, remixing, redistribution) by others where appropriate.
The early stages of such a project have the fun bits of finding out who in the University is doing what already in preparation for putting in place a multi-platform broadcast strategy. So far I have discovered You Tute, Research in a Nutshell, dozens of Youtube channels, Edinburgh University on ItunesU, Panopto, CaptureED and of course, our MOOC videos. We are also tracking down a list of all the video and audio recording studios around the place.
Edinburgh University subscribes to the excellent ‘Box of Broadcasts’ service. BoB enables all staff and students to choose and record any broadcast programme from 60+ TV and radio channels. The recorded programmes are then kept indefinitely (no expiry) and added to a growing media archive (currently at over 1 million programmes), with all content shared by users. Staff and students can record and catch-up on missed programmes on and off-campus, schedule recordings in advance, edit programmes into clips, create playlists, embed clips into Learn or Moodle, share what they are watching with others and search a growing archive of material. It will be fascinating to discover the ways in which this service is being used.
Edinburgh is also part of BUFVC which offers an amazing Moving Image gateway which includes 1,600 websites relating to moving image and sound materials in over 40 subject areas.
I am confident that Edinburgh must have a hefty collection of film in its own archives. It would be fun to do a project here like Oxford University IT Services have done this summer in Dreaming Spools. The project has engaged with alumni all over the world and discovered a wealth of film and video made by some of the most influential film makers, journalists, artists, writers, actors, activists and technicians during the periods when they were students.