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University of Sheffield
Development of a lecture recording policy

The University has been approached by the Students Union to clarify its position on students
recording lectures, particularly those with specific learning disabilities or international students
whose first language is not English. They report that students asking for permission to record a
lecture receive a mixed reception. Given the increase in flexible means of module delivery, this
seems an opportune time to clarify the University position on the recording of lectures. QSC
members are asked to consider which of two positions they believe the University should adopt.

Current position
The University has a responsibility to abide by the Equality Act (2010) which states that reasonable
adjustments should be made for disabled people. For students with disabilities such as certain
specific learning disabilities or students with a particular mental health condition a reasonable
adjustment that can be made to enable students to access the information provided in a lecture is to
give them access to a recording of the lecture. Prior to Semester 2 2013-14, there has been no clear
policy how students with specific needs are to be provided with recordings of lectures. The
Disability and Dyslexia Support Service have advised individual students that they can record lectures
provided that they ask for the lecturers permission and use it only for the purposes of private study.

The Disabled Students Committee were concerned that students were receiving g a mixed reception
from lecturers to requests to record lectures and that this may mean that certain disabled students
were therefore not receiving the support they should be entitled to. An interim position was agreed
with the Students Union to be communicated to students and teaching staff in early February 2014.
This stated the following:
The following guidance is being provided in relation to students with access needs. These access
needs include but are not limited to; dyslexia, mobility difficulties, mental health problems or other
illness which may prevent students attending lectures and sensory impairments.
Where lectures are not routinely being recorded for students, e.g. to support revision or to
prepare for lectures, students with access needs should be permitted to make their own
recordings, for example using a Dictaphone. These recordings should be solely for the
student's use. It is noted that there could be instances where this is not feasible, for example
if materials are being used in the lecture that are third party copyright; further guidance on
the provision of edited recordings will be considered by QSC. A consent form for lecturers is
available. This will only need to be completed once.
It is good practice to provide copies of lecture notes, however, if these are not routinely
provided, on request copies should be made available to students with access needs.
Lecturers are asked to remind students of these options at the start of the first lecture for
each module.
Students with access needs are reminded that it is in their interests to notify the lecturer as
early on in the semester as possible, either directly, through DDSS or through their personal
QSC will consider the Disabled Students Committees requests with respect to making
recordings of other learning activities, such as tutorial meetings and seminars, in particular
with respect to considering the perspectives of all participants.


Proposal for further developing the policy
There are two main positions that the University could adopt.

1. Maintain the position outlined above, resolving issues around the recording of other
learning activities such as seminars and tutorials. In addition, a permission form should be
produced for students with the disabilities referred to above. The form would ask students
to seek permission from the lecturer to record the lecture and would also state that the
recording should only be used for the purposes of private study. Both the lecturer and the
student would be required to sign the form.

Ensures the University meets the Equality Act (2010)
Requires minimal changes to existing processes
Doesnt resolve the issue of students recording without permission
Maintaining signed permission forms can be cumbersome

2. All students should have access to recordings of lectures either (a) provided by the lecturer
themselves and posted on MOLE or other online platform or (b) made by students with their
own recording devices on the understanding that these should be used for personal study
purposes only. In cases where neither of the above are possible, it is the lecturers
responsibility to provide additional support for students with specific disabilities such as
written notes.

Takes an inclusive approach to supporting students learning and recognizes the benefits
for all students of having access to lecture recordings, not just students with specific learning
Ensures the University meets the Equality Act (2010)

This position would imply an increase in the number of recordings made both by staff and students.
There are a number of issues and considerations associated with this that would need to be resolved
if this position is adopted.

1. Copyright
Students. An approach needs to be introduced for students to agree that if they make a
recording of a lecture (or other learning activities) it is for personal use only and that it should
not be shared or uploaded to the Internet, should be destroyed on completion of the modules
and should only be reproduced for transcription purposes. Something to this effect could be
added to the General Regulations which all students agree to comply with when registering as a
student at the University.

Staff. The position for staff is more complex and needs to be made clear to all staff.
Under UK law an employer owns the copyright of anything that is produced by an
employee as part of their work. There is clear guidance on research and Intellectual
Property in the University but it is not clearly stated for Learning and Teaching. The
University therefore owns the copyright of any recordings made as part of a member of
teaching staffs role and is subject to the copyright restrictions placed on it. These
prevent the content being sold or used by way of trade without the express permission
of the copyright holder. Images and recordings may not be edited, amended or re-used
without prior permission from the University. Personal details of those taking part are
never made available to third parties.
Performance rights are not covered by the above and are owned by the individual.
Legal advice suggests that it is debatable whether a standard lecture is considered to be


a performance. However, there are benefits of getting lecturers to specifically consent
to the recording and broadcast of any lecturers a major one being to comply with Data
Protection laws and clarify where and how the lectures may be made available
externally. Staff are currently asked to sign a form for this purpose when making
recordings using MyEcho or recordings to be broadcast on iTunesU. (See Appendix)
Although this approach may appear cumbersome, it has been found to be useful in
reminding staff of their duty to comply with data protection laws. Staffs are only
required to sign the consent form once. The alternative would be to introduce
something into the staff terms and conditions. This would be neater but difficult to
Third party copyright. Once a piece of work is made into something tangible e.g. a
recording or a book it must comply with copyright law. Although it may be legal to use
some copyright protected materials in a lecture, once the lecture is recorded this would
be an infringement of copyright law, as the recording is seen as making a copy. With
greater use of lecture recordings, it is more difficult to monitor whether individual
recordings comply with the law and the risk to the individual and the University is
greater. The University would need to manage this risk. Newcastle University, which
has a policy of mass recordings of lectures has agreed that the University will support
any member of staff who encounters legal challenges from a lecture recording made
with the Universitys lecture capture software, provided that the member of staff has
followed the Universitys copyright guidelines when producing the recording. A similar
undertaking from the University would be required if a policy of encouraging recordings
of lectures were to be adopted by the University. Newcastle University policy on lecture

2. Streaming versus downloads. Streaming of recorded lectures is generally recommended as
it offers more protection in terms of copyright as only a small fragment of the recording is
held on a device at any one time. Downloads are more accessible to students as an internet
connection is not required to listen to the recording. The default position for delivering
lecture recordings on MOLE is by streaming.

3. Exceptions. The University would need to make clear when it is inappropriate either for a
member of staff or a student to make a recording. For example, any lecture containing any
confidential material or a lecture given by a visiting lecturer unless they have given their
permission for the lecture to be recorded.

4. Recording of seminars and other small group learning activities. In order for such
recordings to be made, all participants would need to give their permission. This could only
be managed therefore on a case by case basis, with students asking their fellow students
and member of teaching staff for permission. This may be difficult to manage especially
where students do not know each other well. Having students agree to something in the
General Regulations stating the restrictions of use of any recordings would also support
recordings of such learning activities.

5. Concerns over lecture attendance. Teaching staff naturally have concerns over the impact
of providing lecture recordings on students attendance of lectures. However there is a
growing body of evidence to suggest that attendance is not generally affected by students
having access to recordings. Students value the recordings for the purposes of revision or
understanding difficult points but a recording does not replace the experience of actually
attending the lecture. The University would need to make clear that listening to a recording


of a lecture is not a replacement for attending a lecture. Guidance is already available as to
how students can make use of lecture recordings to enhance their learning.

6. Technical issues and considerations
MyEcho lecture capture software is currently installed in a number of lecture theatres and
has been used by staff across the University for some years. (approximately 200 recordings
were made last year). A facility is also available for staff to make recordings on their desktop.
Recordings are then made available to students via MOLE or other online platform and used
in different ways to support and reinforce learning. From September 2014, MyEcho will be
installed more widely across the University and staff will be able to request alternatives
methods of recording lectures where it is not in the room they are teaching in. If teaching
staff are encouraged to record more lectures, the University needs to be sure that this can
be supported.
CiCS believe that the current system can support a significant increase in volume of
recordings and that there is sufficient storage. However additional resource is
likely to be needed to support the system and people using it.
CiCS are looking at how the system could be integrated into room bookings
A policy would need to be developed on the length of time that recordings would
be stored on the University servers.
The Learning Support Team in CiCs will be offering training in the use of MyEcho.
Guidance already exists but this should be further supported by guidance on the
LeTS toolkit with innovative approaches to the use of recording of lectures to
support student learning. Examples from the January 2014 Learning and Teaching
conference can be drawn on amongst others from across the University.

Juliet Storey, LeTS
4 March 2014

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