Should the University of Bristol Retain “No Questions Asked” Lecture Capture Opt Out?

By a large majority in a recent e-ballot (78.6%), Bristol UCU has voted for a no questions opt out when it comes to their lecturers beings recorded. If the lecturer wants to opt out, they can.

Here are some of their comments.

One Bristol UCU member writes:

Lecturers need to be treated as professionals who are able to make this decision for themselves in the circumstances of their own teaching.


Lecture capture fundamentally changes the student-lecturer relationship. It is pedagogically detrimental, for it discourages students from attending and engaging with the lecture event.

In a similar vein:

I believe lecture capture / recording changes the nature of the lecture as a mode of teaching and learning in ultimately a negative way for both students and lecturer. I believe the lecturer should be able to opt out easily if he / she does not feel it is suitable for his / her course.

There were concerns around IP:

Intellectual property rights. If lectures are uploaded in future and distributed freely online, what would a teaching fellow – for instance – have to offer a future employer?

One member shares their experience:

I’ve copied here the text I give to students explaining why I don’t use Mediasite on my first year unit, in case it is useful. I think maintaining the opt out is very important. Also worth noting is that, out of 100 student evaluation forms, only 4 asked for recordings to be available.

“I have opted out of using this facility on UNIT, for a number of reasons. Firstly, in my experience lecture recording has a significant negative impact on lecture attendance and, for the reasons outlined above, as well as the importance of things like collective experience, I think lecture attendance is very important. Secondly, there are pedagogic concerns about making recordings available to students; students are more likely to over-focus on the lecture, replaying them to memorise the ‘right’ answers, when they would better develop their intellectual abilities by spending that time reading additional material. By freezing a lecture in time, a lecture becomes less like a conversation and more like a book, only a less good book than actual books. Remember that lectures are the starting point of your learning, not the final destination. For these reasons, I will not be making lecture recordings available.”

Other members were not as critical:

Lecture capture has been shown time-and-time again to be of educational benefit; we should encourage evidence-based best practice and enforce it where necessary.

I think the lecture capture is pedagogically very valuable. I respect the right of lecturers to opt out for pedagogical or personal reasons, but I do think these should undergo some scrutiny. I’m wary of knee-jerk conservatism.

This is a vital resource for disabled students, so there always needs to be a dialogue when opt out is requested. But it is far better for all if we become more inclusive across the board and not just for one set of students.

People should stop this luddite nonsense




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