Recording and Lecturecast advice

30 September 2020

Here we update our earlier advice on the recording of teaching activities (including Lecturecast and other technologies)

1) UCL has confirmed that it is up to individual teaching staff to decide which elements of their teaching they should record, if any. Staff can decide whether to record, how to record and how they structure their modules in terms of synchronous/asynchronous activities.

  • Although UCL has provided some generic guidance, this is only guidance. It is neither an instruction nor a strict policy. An earlier claim that recording policy has become “opt out” rather than “opt in” was an error.
  • Students are entitled to reasonable adjustments and can request recordings under SORAs. Those reasonable adjustments are the responsibility of the department to resource and provide, not the individual teacher. There is also no obligation for staff to make these recordings available to others, for example for absentees.
  • The discretion of teaching staff is paramount. One of the factors that must be considered is whether the knowledge that a lecture or seminar is being recorded will impede student participation. Live recordings may also be poor quality if systems are used by large numbers at the same time.

2) The move to online teaching should not lead to substantially increased workloads.

  • One potentially significant area of new workload would be if a SORA requested a transcript in addition to a recording. Teaching staff are not obliged to construct these transcripts.  
  • Nor are staff required to manually transcribe lectures. If you choose to make transcripts available, you can use automatically generated transcripts which can be generated by UCL’s internal software (Zoom and Lecturecast) or through YouTube or PowerPoint.

3) The intellectual property (IP) rights for teaching materials (slides, notes etc) belongs to the person who designed them. However, UCL automatically receives a licence to use those materials in perpetuity.

  • The IP status of video or audio recordings has yet to be confirmed by UCL Academic Board, although UCL has chosen to claim that “the recordings of lectures and other educational activities are owned by the institution” and that staff have “waived” all their rights. We are contesting this claim.
  • We advise that your class teaching is legally considered your performance, and you have rights over the use of this performance. This was discussed at our General Meeting, and UCL UCU are in further discussions with management about this principle.

4) UCL provides a range of software for online teaching, some of which can be used to record teaching activities (Zoom, Blackboard, Lecturecast etc). Staff are not obliged to use these platforms to make recordings. 

  • If you make class recordings using third party software and your own equipment, you can still create links in Moodle to these resources. In this case you retain greater control over the recordings (especially worth noting given 3 above).
  • Whatever platform staff use, you should observe basic accessibility and GDPR compliance (including obtaining consent from those being recorded).

5) UCL has committed to not retain any recordings created during academic years 2019-20 and 2020-21 without the originator’s consent.

  • The standard retention period for recordings on the Lecturecast system is seven years. There are no equivalent policies for recordings made on other technological platforms.

6) UCL policy is that recordings made of teaching and learning activity cannot be used:

  • in case of a strike;
  • for performance management;
  • by the institution to ‘substitute for an academic who wishes to deliver a face to face lecture’.