Digital Education Recording Policy
As the College offers a combination of in-person and online learning, the provision of lecture recordings is vital to achieving the aim of enhancing the learning experience of students.
The Digital Education Recording Policy aims to support College staff to facilitate the practical and responsible recording of lectures, providing students with a high-quality educational experience. The policy also aims to provide clarity on the rights and responsibilities of the College, its staff and its students, external visiting lecturers and any other participants in recorded teaching.
During Autumn term 2020, the College convened a Working Group to prepare the policy in consultation with the College community. The consultation received over 100 responses from staff and 2,900 responses from students. Subsequently staff representatives (including the UCU) have worked together with the College and students’ union to consider in detail these submissions and create a shared view, by staff and students, regarding digital recordings. The result was the Digital Education Recording Policy and its supporting documents. The policy was endorsed by the majority of Working Group members, with UCU disagreement on some points. The policy, including UCU comments, was reviewed by Provost Board and subsequently approved.
The essential purpose of this policy is to allow recordings of lecture material to be made available to students to support their learning. In this way, students undertaking a module on a taught Degree Course or other College Programme will be able to review, reflect on and revise the material covered. Recordings also allow students to access educational material given as part of that Course irrespective of the time zone where they are living. The policy also covers use of recordings as reasonable adjustment for students with a declared disability, and provides for the recording of some other teaching activities and assessments in limited circumstances.
The policy will be communicated to staff and students in time for it to come into effect at the beginning of the Academic Year 2021-22. The College has also committed to review the policy in one year’s time, meaning staff will have the opportunity to provide further feedback.
Update February 2023: The proposed review of this policy has been deferred until the start of the 23/24 academic year, in order to allow a full academic year to have passed since its implication. Please check back from October 2023 for further updates.
Frequently Asked Questions - Students
Where can I read the policy in full?
What kind of teaching is recorded by default?
The basis of the policy is that one-way teaching, such as lectures, will be recorded by default and retained for future reference by the cohort for which it was recorded. Further detail of what falls under the category of ‘lecture’ can be found HERE. The Digital Education Recording Policy consultation indicated that students value recordings of lectures to revisit difficult or complex concepts, to improve their lecture notes and for revision.
Recordings also allow students to access the material of lectures given as part of that Course irrespective of the time zone where they are living. Whilst the general principle of the policy is that all lectures will be recorded, there is a collaborative process for staff or students to suggest changes to the default position on a specific module. The policy explains how lecturers can consult with students to change from the defaults for a given module. This decision should be guided by the need for students to have access to recordings to meet the learning outcomes of the module.
What kind of teaching is not recorded by default?
Smaller, more interactive forms of teaching (‘other teaching), involving discussions, group tasks and labs, will only be recorded if there is agreement from the students and teachers involved. Further detail of what falls under the category of ‘other teaching’ can be found HERE. The Digital Education Recording Policy consultation indicated that students and many staff were concerned that recording of highly interactive teaching, particularly when in smaller groups, might inhibit students from contributing, reducing the educational value of such sessions. The general principle of this policy is that other teaching will not be recorded.
Can I make a request for an interactive teaching session to be recorded?
The default starting point for other teaching sessions, which includes interactive styles of teaching, are not recorded. This is because, from the feedback the group received, students raised concerns that recordings of interactive teaching sessions might inhibit their contributions. However, students or the lecturer can make a request for an interactive session to be recorded. If this is agreed, recording can start immediately, and this is noted as the new default for this part of the module. If the request is not agreed, then this will be taken to the staff-student committee to try to come to a consensual decision. The decision should be based on need to meet the learning outcomes of the module. While no consensus is reached the default to not record stands.
Do lecturers have to seek my permission if lectures are published online?
For recordings made in accordance with this policy, your consent is not required provided that you have been: (a) notified that the session will be recorded, and (b) informed of what action, if any, you may take to avoid being recorded. This may mean either being seated in a particular part of the room, or turning off your camera/microphone for virtual sessions.
What can I use recordings for?
You may use recordings only for your own private study. You may not share or disseminate the recording or material from it, including excerpts, in any format or media. You can find guidance on how to benefit from recorded Educational Activities and how to use recordings of Educational Activities appropriately on the Success Guide webpages.
How does the policy apply to me if I have disclosed a disability?
If you are a disabled student, you will have access to lecture recordings as part of a reasonable adjustment under your Student Support Document (SSD). On occasions when it has been agreed that recording of their lectures should not take place, the Lecturer should permit individual disabled students to have access to additional material as recommended as a reasonable adjustment in their SSD.
How long will I be able to access recordings for?
The student consultation was clear that students wanted to have access to recordings for the duration of their course to allow them to develop a deeper synoptic learning, and for some Departments (such as Physics) to allow revision for a year 3 general paper. Where Educational Activities are recorded, you will be provided with access to the recording. Access will be managed by your Department and will be available to you until you graduate or leave the College.
Frequently Asked Questions - Staff
Where can I read the policy in full?
Who owns the rights (e.g. copyright) of recordings I make?
This is a complex area as with a sound and video recording multiple rights can co-exist with potentially different owners. For this reason, we have created the TABLE OF RIGHTS which explains what the different rights are, who might own them and then how these rights are affected by the policy. For the specific question of copyright –
What is copyright? The written works of the lecturer and their spoken words used to make the lecture.
Who owns them? Copyright of work is typically owned by the person who authored the work or, if they are an employee, their employer. Under the College Intellectual Property Policy, the College recognising the skill and effort of Lecturers in producing high quality teaching and learning materials for recording, waives any claims to copyright in these materials. The lecturer grants to the College a licence to use these materials for the purpose of teaching by the College.
How is copyright affected by the policy? The policy limits the College’s licence to use recordings of teaching materials for specific purposes and to make recordings available to specific student groups. All other uses require your permission.
Do my recordings have to be hosted on the College Virtual Learning Environment?
No they do not. From the staff feedback it was clear that there is much material hosted on platforms such as GitHub or YouTube. The policy (see general principles 1.6) allow you to host material elsewhere provided it is well sign-posted, and available on-line to all students. These last points are made because some student commented that it was sometimes difficult to know where material was, or that they could not access the site from where they were.
There are advantages to using the College VLE. As it is secure and private it is easier to claim ‘fair dealing’ for use of third-party copyright as part of your teaching. It is also not exposed to web-crawlers which have in the past led to claims for third party copyright infringement.
Will recordings be used during any future strike action?
No this is specifically forbidden by the policy (see general principles 1.16). The policy also prohibits use of recordings for performance management (1.17) or in disciplinary procedures (1.13 – with the specific exception of Gross Misconduct as defined by the staff disciplinary procedure). This last exception covers only the most serious offences, and would allow a panel to consider whether, for example, a racially abusive term was or was not used.
What happens if the College changes the policy in future?
An important legal principle is that if in the year 2024 you make a recording under the Digital Educational Recording Policy, the policy that applies to the recording is the version of the policy that was in force when you made the recording. If a subsequent
change in the policy allowed new uses of recordings, they do not apply to your 2024 recording, only to recordings made after the new policy was adopted.
Can I decline a request for an interactive teaching session to be recorded?
Yes you can decline a request.
Section 3 of the policy covers recording of ’Other Teaching’ which includes interactive styles of teaching. The default starting point for such sessions is that they are not recorded. This is because, from the student feedback, students were concerned that a recording might inhibit their contributions. The lecturer or students can request that the session is recorded. If this is agreed, recording can start immediately, and this is noted as the new default for this part of the module. If the request is not agreed this is taken to the staff-student committee to try to come to a consensual decision. This should be based on need to meet the learning outcomes of the module. While no consensus is reached the default to not record stands.
Why are recordings kept until a student cohort leave the College?
The student consultation was clear that students wanted to have access to their recordings to allow them to develop a deeper synoptic learning, and for some Departments (such as Physics) to allow revision for a year 3 general paper.
If I depart the College, will I still be able to use the recordings, and will the College be able to use them too?
Under the policy the copyright in the underlying materials (i.e your slides, your words, your quizzes your videos your code etc) is covered by the College IP Policy. The College waives its ownership of the copyright, so they belong to you (see TABLE OF RIGHTS) and you are free to use your material elsewhere. Do note that under the IP policy the College has worldwide royalty-free licence in perpetuity entitling it to use all such underlying materials for the purpose of research and teaching by College.
To be clear this does not apply to you using say a recorded discussion session with a student cohort. Under the policy the College has the necessary permissions from the students to use these recordings for the purposes of the policy. As a private individual you would not have these permissions.
The College will only be able to use recordings made by you for the purposes outlined by the policy. In this case that would be to make the recording available to the student cohort it was recorded for until they left College. Any other use would require your permission.
Do academic research seminars have to be recorded?
No, academic seminars do not have to be recorded. The definition of Lecturer specifically excludes academic speakers as does Section 8 of the policy (which deals with ‘event Lectures’. Event lectures are a special category of specific, often named, lectures that Departments or the College may wish to record for posterity.
Can my recordings be used by anyone other than the students for whom they are recorded?
The simple answer is no, without your consent, for recordings made under the policy.
This is described in section 5 (specifically 5.2 for lectures and 5.3 for other material that may be recorded under the policy). This section also considers two circumstances where you may wish to give your consent. Section 5.5 covers optional advanced modules (which often run in parallel) and section 5.6 covers use for outreach or open days.
Can my recordings be used for purposes other than the educational instruction of the students for whom they were created?
This important topic is covered in the general principles of the policy, Section 1.
Section 1.7 gives the important general principle is that recordings may not be used for any other purpose other than the defined purposes in this policy without further agreement from all Participants/rights holders - this will always include you as lecturer.
The policy then specifically excludes use of recording in particular activities
1.13 – disciplinary action – with the exception of charges of ‘gross misconduct’ (1.15) under the staff disciplinary policy (see below).
1.16 – Covering College staff exercising their legal right to take industrial action
1.17 – Performance management of staff (eg formal performance review)
1.18 – Continued professional development or career progression (eg PDRP, promotions process)
The exception (given in 1.15 ) for a College disciplinary Panel having access to a specific recording in regard to a charge of gross misconduct (an offence very specifically defined in the existing staff disciplinary policy) is to cover the possibility that a member of staff is abusive in that they exhibit
- serious discriminatory behaviour on the grounds of race, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief [including lack of belief], sex, sexual orientation, disability or age.
A similar condition exists for students in 1.14 for a major offence by students as defined under the Student Disciplinary Procedure.