Using audiovisual materials in teaching: don’t forget BoB!

Box of Broadcasts
BoB (Box of Broadcasts)

I’m always surprised that despite how much interest there is in using audiovisual material in teaching, staff often seem to be unaware that we have a subscription to Box Of Broadcasts (BoB) at City. BoB is a huge database of broadcast content from TV and radio, dating back to the 1990s and licensed for use under the Educational Recording Agency (ERA) Licence. I probably know a bit more about this than most, as I sit on the Universities UK Copyright Negotiation and Advisory Committee and I am involved in negotiating the licence with ERA. However, I’ve always been a big fan of this service, and always try to encourage staff to use it in teaching.

Rather than trying to use content from the BBC iplayer, or searching You Tube for what may be a dodgy recording from a TV show, the content on BoB is all legitimate and can be edited into clips for use on Moodle or in the classroom. There is a LibGuide on how to embed the content in your Moodle course here. It also allows all students, researchers and staff at City to choose and record television and radio programmes from over 60 Freeview channels. If you missed a TV programme then it’s really a bit like catch up TV, accessed using your City IT login. You can also create your own playlists and share those with students, if perhaps there are a series of programmes you want them to watch, or a series of short clips, such as this one I made about Copyright in the News. The other great thing is that now many programmes have transcripts available, so when you search for keywords these are used to help locate content within a programme. This can be a great way to find the episode you want, or a clip illustrating a topic you are teaching about.

One of the limitations with BoB currently is that the service is only available in the UK, partly due to how copyright law works. As part of its effort to navigate the challenge of clearing the necessary rights to be able to extend the ERA Licence to offshore students of British universities, ERA needs to better understand the ways in which broadcast recordings are used in teaching and learning across British universities, including how broadcast resources are used at course level, the basis on which broadcast recordings are selected by course leaders and the types of programmes used to support teaching and learning across different subjects. To this end ERA is keen to talk to a cross-section of academics from universities across the UK who currently use broadcast recordings to support the teaching of their courses. I’m keen to find out who might be using BoB at City in their teaching to highlight some good practice. Some staff have put recordings on Reading Lists Online, but I suspect more people add the links direct to Moodle or use them in their classroom. If you are using BoB in teaching and might be willing to talk about this briefly, then I would love to hear from you so please send an email to Happy watching!


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One thought on “Using audiovisual materials in teaching: don’t forget BoB!

  1. And the other big advantage is that all programmes from the major broadcasters have subtitles available so they are accessible to students with a hearing loss.

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