During my fresher’s week, I attended my first university lecture brimming with anticipation for my first foray into degree level History. To my dismay, two minutes in, it was clear I was attending an Economics lecture. I’d read my new timetable wrong, got lecture theatres mixed up, and was far too shy and inhibited to charge out of the lecture and head to the right place. I even went so far as to take notes in case I got rumbled. I still dwell on that ridiculous day.
I last thought of the incident quite recently - as I listened to a BETT talk on lecture capture. A presentation by the University of Sheffield described how the institution has moved to an opt-out model – whereby all lectures are recorded as standard and are posted on the VLE as a matter of course, unless an academic chooses to opt out of the programme. As a result, the scale of the operation has increased dramatically in the last two years.
If I had made the same mistake now, it’s likely that I’d be able to catch up with the content later that week, pausing as I took notes and replaying bits I didn’t understand to get me up to speed.
Since attending BETT, I’ve also read Jane Secker and Chris Morrison’s paper Lecture Recording in Higher Education: Risky Business or Evolving Open Practice. It seems that while not the norm, lecture capture is on the rise, giving support in particular to students with accessibility issues, English as an additional language, or the need for more flexible teaching hours.
That said, there’s various issues that an institution must bear in mind when considering adopting lecture capture. Lecturer concerns about the impact on student attendance, the implications relating to intellectual property (does the academic or the HEI own the rights to a lecture?) and importantly student privacy, mean that deciding to record all lectures is not a light undertaking.
On top of these concerns, a fear of copyright still pervades, and may be holding some institutions back from making use of lecture capture software. Whilst listening to the BETT lecture, and considering the many threads that need tying up, I resolved that we at CLA need to help allay institution worries.
There’s a variety of ways by which material could be made available in a lecture, the most obvious of which is the copyright exception for illustration for instruction.
If there is any doubt however, remember that you can rely on the CLA HE Licence to make copies for lecture presentations. As long as the material is included in our licence, is credited, and the recording is secure to students, then copies can be made as normal. Also bear in mind that material used in lectures does not have to be reported to us at the end of the year, in much the same way as our update last year on disembedded images.
There’s obviously no one answer to lecture capture; while on one hand it opens up access to the varying needs of students, important practical and intellectual property implications need to be borne in mind. But whatever your institution decides is the best fit, the CLA Licence and accompanying guidance can be used to help make content accessible to students - especially all the little freshers who just took the wrong turn.
If you’re interested in finding our more about lecture capture and the copyright implications, these pages may be of help:
JISC Guidance on recording lectures
Learning on Screen Copyright Guidance
Association for Learning Technology
IPO’s guidance to Copyright Exceptions