UCU wary of lecture capture

Interesting perspectives on UCU being wary of lecture capture by stephen downes OLdaily. In some way UAL are way ahead of all this, in other ways we’re not, but I think we’re already thinking about the pros and cons and there’s some interesting research under way at UAL that explores this area.

“The University and College Union (UCU), which represents many academics in HE, passed a motion (HE43) at their recent HE sector conference that expresses some of the anxieties that surround lecture capture. These include questions about the pedagogical value of recorded lectures and a fear that the technology will support the marketisation of education by enabling lectures to be franchised or sold.” ( http://telic.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/ucu-wary-of-lecture-capture/ )

The resolutions are actually quite useful, and I hope that the UCU co-opts people with real expertise and understanding to help carry them through. The resolutions are:

a. to support staff who refuse to have their lectures recorded.

This resolution was remitted (kicked into the long grass). My view is that no-one should be forced to record their lectures. Faculties may try to persuade those who don’t want to, but there may be good pedagogical reasons against it. However, there are also issues such as equality and accessibility (for example by dyslexic students) which mean that ‘because I don’t want to’ is not a good enough reason to refuse.

b. that universities should not be creating expectations that all lectures will be recorded.

I think it is student expectations that will be the key driver here, and that use will grow organically over time. The infrastructure required to record every lecture is huge, and institutions want to be convinced of the benefits as they invest.

c. to provide materials with advice on the issues of performance rights, copyrighted materials used in lectures, and intellectual property rights regarding the future use of a lecture.

JISC Legal have already produced a handy guide on this, and institutions will produce their own guidance. I think UCU should encourage a model in which academics licence their institution to freely use their content internally. However, franchising or selling that content would fall outside the licence and would require the institution to gain further permission.

d. to provide materials indicating the pedagogical value of recorded lecture materials.

I think these ought to go beyond an outline of the benefits (and potential pitfalls) of recorded lectures and encourage academics to see pre-recorded content as a technique to redesign the delivery of their courses, move didactic material online and create more time for face-to-face interactivity and discussion.

When it comes to issues of marketisation, I think that UCU seems ill-informed if it thinks institutions will be able to sell recorded lectures unless they are of the highest quality (both production values and content). There is so much excellent free material already available on YouTube, iTunes U and elsewhere that charging for a simple lecture recording is just laughable.

TELic: a blog about Technology Enhanced Learning by Adam Warren is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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4 Responses to UCU wary of lecture capture

  1. I think Adam Warren’s (http://telic.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/ucu-wary-of-lecture-capture/#comment-52) comments in his blog that the above link is taken from is a sound response to UCU’s comments.

    What the UCU say:

    My first reactions to the UCU link are:
    No one can be forced to record their lectures, legally.
    I don’t know of any universities that create an expectation that all their lectures will be recorded (unless you work for the Open University in which case its a good thing).

    section 2. “there are serious questions about the pedagogical value of such technologies, given that they may encourage superficial and dependent learning strategies and discourage attendance…”
    In my view this comment is a very weak and unsupported argument that has no academic proof behind it. There is compelling evidence such as a recent research by Dr Gareth Hall from Aberystwyth University (http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/psychology/staff/gbh/) that appears to prove that lecture capture improves learning and, has little or no impact on attendance, and that students would rather go to a university that has lecture capture given the option. I have met Gareth personally and I have heard him talk on this research paper which was very sound and thorough. It would be interesting to see if the UCU is able to substantiate comments like this through any research findings.

    I will say that in my years working in video in HE at LCF I do come across “fear factor” responses to video, but not that often; with views that video will replace face to face teaching. I think this is derived from a fear of the unknown, and a fear of change rather than on any actual evidence. However, it cannot be ignored that over the past 5 years face to face contact time has declined and that a heavier reliance on technology has increased. Some skeptics may believe that these 2 trends are inter- linked, but I’m clearly not one of those!
    I see video (and lecture capture & video learning resources) as a tool that support teaching and learning, and I believe in both the constructivist approach to learning (Biggs & Tang) which states that learners construct their learning through meaningful experiences that can only be gained by attending lectures and interacting with staff and other students. I also strongly believe in the Communities of Practice Theory, which suggests that students learn by participating in learning activities at university & interact and form vitally important relationships which also shapes and creates their learning. It is a shallow view that students are able to purely learn from watching a video, there is so much more to learning than what a video can offer on its own. However, there is powerful & positive value in using video effectively in the teaching practice to support learning.

    In my opinion, in the relatively new internet & digital age we are living in, it seems ridiculous to not make use of this available technology.

    • Mickey says:

      WwoofBum:I think it's a little above 1. However, it turns out not to be the most interesting question about ethanol. The key issues are it's financial priltiabofity (positive when oil prices are high enough), it's political traction (appeases farm state senators – works as a form of price support for farmers), and it's impact on food prices (the main downside).

  2. I should add that what the UCU conference resolves:
    ” to support staff who refuse to have their lectures recorded
    that universities should not be creating expectations that all lectures will be recorded
    to provide materials with advice on the issues of performance rights, copyrighted materials used in lectures, and intellectual property rights regarding the future use of a lecture
    to provide materials indicating the pedagogical value of recorded lecture materials.”

    these are all good resolutions, its just the bit before these resolutions that I find quite misleading.

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