Lecture Capture

With no discussion with the lecturers on the ground – the real experts in teaching at the University – senior management instigated a push for a greater use of ‘lecture capture’ a couple of years ago. Lecture capture is shorthand for a system that tries to record a lecture without integration of the full aspects of their lecture.

Even if the technology was remarkable – which almost certainly isn’t – it is like one of those cinema showings of National Theatre plays: a poor substitute for being there and participating in the full experience.

We can understand why the Student Union at the time might have found the idea of ‘lecture capture’ attractive as a supplement to first rate lectures taught by leading researchers in their field – the Roehampton style of research-led teaching. But what has been shown is that lecture capture is not an element driven by a coherent package of improving the teaching and learning experience at the University, nor an integrated tool to appropriately assist disabled students. Instead, the weight of evidence has just shown it to be a tool that is detrimental to student attendance and their grades.

Since the first introduction of this policy, the UCU branch negotiators have repeatedly asked for the University to consult and negotiate with us, as the staff representatives. They have refused to do so. Therefore until the University agree to consult with us, the branch policy is that members do not engage with lecture capture. You do not have to use panopto, nor blackboard ally, instead just continue to deliver the first-rate lectures that you usually do.

We remain open to discuss lecture capture with our management and Student Union.

For a good lecture capture policy we would expect it to have addressed the following issues.

That:

    1. lecture capture is voluntary and staff choosing not to use lecture capture should not be required to engage in a formal opt out process;
    2. academics retain authorship and performance rights to their lectures;
    3. academics always have a say in the use of the films and other recordings of their lectures;
    4. a condition of any agreement with a university on lecture capture has a clause to exclude films and other recordings being used during industrial action;
    5. academic freedom is not curtailed by filming and other recording;
    6. students are not put into ethical or other difficulties by filmed or recorded responses in lectures;
    7. lecture capture is never used in performance management or disciplinary action;
    8. lecture capture is not to be used where teaching takes place in countries where freedom of speech is not guaranteed;

If there are other issues that you feel are important to address in such a policy, please email us at ucu@roehampton.ac.uk