Skip to main content

AV Recording - Guidance for Heads of Schools

The Policy has been approved by Senate (S/13/19). This guidance document is provided for Heads of School and staff to support the implementation of the policy.

1. Audio and video recording for educational purposes is integral to the University’s Digital Strategy for Taught Student Education (TSEB/12/54) and the Blended Learning Strategy (TSEB/13-06). The use of mobile devices, multimedia management capabilities, lecture capture technology, social media and online learning platforms are transforming the potential use of audio and video recordings for educational purposes.

2. Recording by the University of educational activities is an important part of the University’s strategy to enhance the quality of the student experience and the University sees it increasingly as part of mainstream academic work.

3. Recording of educational activities is becoming an expectation for many students, and is widespread across the Russell Group. There have been a number of successful trials of lecture capture and recordings of students for assessment across the University.

4. There are considerable educational benefits to recording for educational purposes, including:

• Flexible learning – anytime and anywhere access to learning materials, at the learners own pace;
• Multi-modal learning – providing learning materials in multiple formats to suit individual learning preferences;
• Deep learning – ability to evaluate and contextualise learning materials over time;
• Accessibility – particularly useful for students with special educational needs or whose first language is not English;
• Practicality – ability to pause, repeat and/or revisit complex learning materials to increase understanding.

5. The University policy on audio and video recording for educational purposes aims to regulate and administer recordings within a clear framework.

6. The University has invested in audio and video technology for recording of lectures and other activities available in central teaching rooms from September 2014. The University is very keen to ensure that these facilities are maximised and used responsibly.

7. In rooms where video cameras are installed, the majority of these are front facing and fixed angle. However, some large high profile rooms are fitted with tracking cameras which will follow the teacher’s movements around the room. [These cameras may record an image from members of the audience sat at the front of the room if the teacher moves into the audience.] All rooms are equipped with audio recording equipment in the front of the room. [These microphones may capture the voices of members of the audience.]

8. The audio and video recording policy applies to all educational purposes, which is taken to mean any purpose related to taught student education at the University.

9. The policy seeks to ensure that all staff and students will receive proper notice that a recording is due to take place, have a right to opt-out or ask for an edit of that recording. It is trying to encourage responsible recording in a transparent and consistent manner. Schools/Services are taking control of the process.

Deciding when to record
10. It is recognised that there is a pedagogical discussion to be had about when and where it is most appropriate to use recordings to enhance student learning. In recognition of this debate, Schools and Services are asked to discuss and decide when it is appropriate to record. The University recognises the different learning and teaching contexts in each School and Service and the importance of decisions on recording being made. The decision as to when to record is therefore devolved to the Head of School, who may in particular take into consideration the following factors:

• the aspiration to provide a consistent student experience across modules / programmes taught by Schools and Services;
• the value of providing students with exceptional learning resources to support their education;
• the value of providing a recording of video and/or audio from teaching sessions alongside simultaneous screen capture, as appropriate pedagogically and according to staff preference;
• consideration of the pedagogic value of recording
• effect of a recording in a more intimate learning environment e.g. small group teaching sessions such as seminars / tutorials, where there may be limited value to a recording;
• the availability of at-desk recording functionality to allow staff and students to produce recordings of educational activities;
• the value of the University providing an authenticated recording of teaching sessions, instead of covert student recordings shared widely without permission.

The Policy
11. The key elements of the policy on audio and video recordings for educational purposes are as follows:

• The policy applies to all audio and video recordings for educational purposes.
• It is up to the Head of School/Service (or nominee) to decide when it is appropriate for recordings to take place.
• Save in very exceptional circumstances where sensitive personal data is to be recorded, generally staff and students are deemed to consent to the recording taking place.
• Staff and students are given a right to opt-out of being recorded or to ask that their contribution be edited. Staff and student are required to inform the person responsible for the activity to be recorded of their decision to opt-out. In the case of a member of staff who wishes to opt-out of a recording, the Head of School or nominee may discuss the matter with that person, for example to explore the scope for using audio rather than video recording.
• Where sensitive personal data is to be recorded, explicit (opt-in) consent of the individual being recorded will be required.
• Explicit consent will be obtained from staff where recordings are to be made publicly available.
• Students may not be permitted to opt-out of recordings where a recording is an explicit requirement of a University award (e.g. recording of assessed presentations).
• Staff and students (wherever practicable) will receive an initial notice that a recording is due to take place to be later supported by a notice in the room.
• Where students wish to record they must obtain the prior consent of the member of staff managing the particular activity that is to be recorded. Only in exceptional circumstances will consent be given.
• Where students have a need to make an audio recording of a teaching session because of a recognised disability, they will be permitted to make this recording for personal use. Note that this legal right will normally override staff / student requests to opt-out.
• In accordance with existing policy the University owns both students and staff recordings. However, the University will respect the rights of staff and students to be accredited as authors and performers.
• If recordings have taken place without consent then the University is clear that it maintains its “right to take down”.
• Any recordings that contain personal data must be kept securely in accordance with the University’s Information Security Policy.
• The University has agreed to provide further supplemental training to staff to ensure that they know how to operate the policy properly.

Suggestions for resolving notifications of opt-out
12. Whilst staff/students have the right to opt-out of recordings, there may be occasions where discussions would be appropriate to explore the scope for a suitable compromise. Practical measures that can be taken to address concerns could include:

· just audio and screen capture recording (voice and related PowerPoint slides only)
· positioning individuals "off camera"
· instructing the relevant staff/student not to identify themselves or be identified by others when asking questions
· allow those who have opted-out to participate at a time when the recording is not in progress e.g. at the end the activity or in a different group
· reminding individuals of the ability to pause recordings and the ability to edit a recording before publication
· reminding individuals of the agreed limits on use and publication of recordings
· offering training and support.

Further information
13. The policy document

14. This guidance document is available at:

15. Staff and Departmental Development Unit training materials are available at:

16. Support and advice for students about this policy is available at:


(Updated July 2016)