1. The Audio Video Recording Policy was introduced in 2014, alongside the implementation of the Mediasite Lecture Capture Multimedia Management system.
2. The policy was updated in 2016 when auto-publication of recordings was introduced and was substantially updated in 2020.
3. Recording by the University of educational activities is an important part of the University’s strategy to enhance the quality of the student experience, and the University regards recording as part of mainstream academic work. Recordings of educational activities are an important part of the University’s delivery of its educational objectives in the public good.
4. The use of recordings is a well-established practice at many universities, and something that students expect as part of a 21st century university offering.
5. Recordings support the Inclusive Teaching Practice baselines, and help to ensure that the teaching and learning requirements of our diverse student population are met.
6. Recordings of education activities are often invaluable to those students whose circumstances, including those with disabilities, mean they cannot otherwise fully benefit from the educational activity.
7. The University’s Mediasite system is already heavily used by many staff in all Faculties – overall, 82% of all ‘lectures’ (as defined in the timetable) are scheduled for recording, and there are in excess of 1.5 million views of published content per year. However, there is inconsistent uptake of the recording of educational activities across, and within, Faculties.
8. Student demand for universal recording and publication of all educational activities has been steadily growing, and LUU’s official policy is to campaign for universal recording of lectures.
9. The University’s Digital Strategy for Student Education and Blended Learning Strategy both advocate the creation and use of audio and video recordings to enhance the quality of student education and the overall student experience.
10. Recording of educational activities is an expectation for students, and is widespread across the Higher Education sector. There are considerable educational benefits to recording for educational purposes, including:
11. The AV Recording policy is an institutional policy covering the legal and practical implications of recording, editing, and publishing recordings. It does not take a pedagogical position, which is set by the University’s education strategy, interpreted by Faculties and Schools.
12. The University’s student education strategy encourages student-centred, inclusive, flexible, active learning approaches, which will be manifest in a wide range of educational activities – where these approaches are consistent with an ability to record the event for student use, this is where the AV recording policy comes into play.
13. The University has audio and video technology for recording of lectures and other activities available in all central teaching rooms, and staff have access to desktop software for recording audio and video materials. The University is very keen to ensure that these facilities are maximised and used responsibly.
14. In rooms where video cameras are installed, the majority of these are front facing and fixed angle. All rooms are equipped with audio recording equipment in the front of the room.
15. Traditionally, the overriding use of the system has been for recording of timetabled educational activities, but since the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a significant increase in use of Desktop Capture recording by staff and students, and greater use of Mediasite recordings for active learning approaches, and creation of digital education content. This is expected to continue in the 2020/21 academic session.
16. Availability of recordings is consistent with the obligation for the University to meet its anticipatory duty under the Equality Act 2010. Recording of educational activities is important for many disabled students at the University, (presently some 12% of the University’s student population). Use of the University’s systems for recording educational activities enables disabled students to access learning content without having to identify themselves as disabled, and ensures that students who have not disclosed their disability to the University are also able to access lectures.
17. There have been numerous complaints received by the Disability Services about the lack of availability of recordings of educational activities, and a number of workarounds have been implemented where Mediasite recordings have not been made available.
18. A large-scale longitudinal research study of Leeds’ staff and student perceptions of ‘lecture capture’, use of recordings, and the impact of recordings on lecture attendance was published in 2019 and includes a detailed literature review of the pedagogic value of educational recordings. The findings demonstrated the strong demand, and use of recordings, by students.
19. Analysis of ‘lecture capture’ recording policies across the Russell Group shows that the majority have adopted ‘opt-out’ policies, and are increasingly reducing exceptions for recording, to ensure all students have access to learning materials (e.g. disabled students).
20. A major enhancement to our recording capability currently being implemented is the automated captioning of audio and video recordings. Evidence shows that students perceive high value in closed captions and transcripts for learning, and they provide essential access to learning materials for some students with particular educational needs.
21. The key elements of the policy on audio and video recordings for educational purposes are as follows:
The AV recording policy was originally written in relation to the Mediasite system, which was the primary system for recording of audio video resources. However, recently the use of Collaborate Ultra and Microsoft Teams has increased significantly. The AV recording policy now describes the position in relation to all major digital education systems available for audio video recording (Mediasite, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Stream, Collaborate Ultra).
The AV recording policy covers all educational activities. In practice many staff have interpreted it as covering lectures, where a lecture is defined as a primarily didactic (teacher-centred) activity, with minimal student interaction. The vast majority of activities recorded through Mediasite have been timetabled ‘lectures’. However, the policy also covers other educational activities, including seminars, workshops etc., whilst recognising that (i) audio-video recording facilities are not available in all teaching spaces; (ii) there may be good pedagogic, legal and practical reasons why recording of these activities may have little value. Therefore, staff are asked to consider the AV recording policy in relation to all educational activities, given the strong demand from students for recordings to be available for as many educational activities as possible. Where it is considered that recordings of non-lecture events are not appropriate, staff should use this as a rationale for a request for opt-out to the Head of School.
The AV Recording policy is an institutional policy covering the legal and practical implications of recording, editing, and publishing recordings. It does not take a pedagogical position, which is set by the University’s education strategy, interpreted by Faculties and Schools. The University’s student education strategy encourages student-centred, inclusive, flexible, active learning approaches, which will be manifest in a wide range of educational activities – where these approaches are consistent with an ability to record the event for student use, this is where the AV recording policy comes into play.
The research paper cited in the AV recording policy includes a major analysis of student attendance versus AV recording – the results showed a small but statistically significant reduction in attendance when lectures were recorded, but with over 80% attendance in all scenarios. There are a number of conflicting studies on the impact of lecture recording on attendance, and these were cited in the literature review of the paper. The paper was peer-reviewed and published in a leading international education journal. Increasingly, the University is considering the impact of blended learning approaches on our view of attendance, and moving towards thinking about student engagement with learning activities, through physical attendance and engagement with digital content and activities.
The Skills@Library website contains information for students about using AV recordings to support learning, and the IT website contains information about using the University’s digital education systems.
The University provides AV, computer facilities and recording capabilities in all Central Teaching Spaces. It is acknowledged that these facilities are not available in other rooms across the university used for teaching and learning activities. The university is aware of the need to extend these facilities across more locations, and this work will continue.
The issues with the functionality of lapel microphones are acknowledged. The Facilities Directorate are in the process of replacing the microphones with ones which have internal rechargeable batteries which are charged via a docking station.
The AV recording policy has an unequivocal statement that states that ‘Recordings will not be used as a performance management tool.’
The AV recording policy also includes a clause that AV recordings could be used by staff or students as evidence in complaints, and can be requested as evidence by external regulators.
The University requires Heads of Schools/Services to review opt-out requests to ensure consistent application of the AV recording policy to students and has produced detailed guidance to help Heads to give advice, support staff and resolve situations.
The AV recording policy and guidance for Heads of School/Service provide detailed information about the potential reasons for opt-outs, including pedagogic, legal and practical issues. The University recognises that not all educational activities are appropriate for recording, and that in some cases recording will not add value to students’ educational experience, and recognises that there are some instances where staff will not be able to, or wish to, have recordings.
Students with disabilities are able to make recordings of educational activities themselves, with the appropriate permissions from Disability Services. However, following extensive feedback from students, the University believes that these recordings should be provided through its systems, and made available to students with disabilities. Access to recordings can be limited to individual students, where required.
The limitations of the Mediasite editing facilities are acknowledged. The system vendor Sonic Foundry, have committed to an overhaul of the editing system, and will be releasing an enhanced editing tool.
Currently, it is not possible to edit recordings in Collaborate Ultra, and the pausing of recordings is not possible. These issues have been raised with the system vendor, Blackboard, and the University will push for these functionalities to be included in future releases of the system.
Recordings in Microsoft Stream (either from MS Teams recordings or directly within Stream) can be edited, and publication can be managed.
Analysis of system data showed that the vast majority of recordings are not edited, and those which are edited are mainly edited within 48 hours. Therefore, as a result of student demand for quicker access to recordings to enable effective study, the automatic publication time is being reduced to 2 working days. Staff can make recordings available before the automatic publication time, and can remove the auto-publication feature within the system.
The system vendor Sonic Foundry, have agreed to introduce a system change to ensure that recordings are published after 2 working days, taking account of weekends and university closed days.
Whilst this is a rapidly evolving area, and the University and systems vendors are working hard on this initiative, it must be acknowledged that is a new venture for all education providers. The AV recording policy states that Mediasite captions will only be published when they reach a quality threshold of at least 80% accuracy. It is not possible to introduce a threshold for auto-captions produced within Microsoft Teams or Microsoft Stream.
The concerns about staff workload to edit captions are acknowledged. There are number of dimensions to this issue:
Auto-captioning will be available for all AV content in Mediasite, and will be automatically created for all scheduled recordings, desktop captures and ad-hoc recordings. Captions will only be published if they reach a quality threshold of at least 80%.
Auto-captioning is available for Microsoft Teams and Stream, and can’t be altered.
Auto-captioning is not currently available for Collaborate Ultra, and the University is working with the system vendor, Blackboard, to understand the system roadmap for this functionality.
he AV recording policy makes a distinction between ‘content owners’ and Ownership (as related to Intellectual Property). In the Mediasite system, content ownership is defined by the staff allocated to a teaching event in the Timetable, and this determines who has ownership, editing, management and publication rights over the recording in the system. For Mediasite desktop captures, adhoc recordings and for recordings in Collaborate Ultra and MS Teams, the content owner is the individual who creates the content, and they have control over the editing, management and publication of the recording.
The Intellectual Property position in the AV recording policy is a reflection of the University’s Intellectual Property policy.
The University acknowledges that extensive, legitimate, use of third-party material in educational activities would constitute a reasonable reason for an opt-out.
The retention and deletion of scheduled recordings in Mediasite is 2 years, as these recordings are intended to be a supplement to face-to-face educational activities, and therefore should not be needed for long-term access. Other recordings in Mediasite are not automatically deleted, as applies to recordings in Collaborate Ultra and Microsoft Stream, and staff are asked to use the University’s data retention schedule to determine when these recordings can be, or should be, deleted.