Case spotlight: Lecture Capture Policy: Manager / Academic Negotiation Exercise

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This case was featured in Connect, issue 54, November 2021.

Who – the protagonists

Professor Sam Green, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education at the University of Here and Now, and Professor of Sociology Chris Traxton.

What?

A few weeks into the new academic year, Sam was championing the recently implemented lecture capture policy.

Sam introduced the new teaching practice, known as lecture capture (CP), in order to take advantage of an underutilised resource at the University, namely a teaching recording software that had the capacity to capture lecture slides, the presenter’s voice and an optional video image of the presenter.

In essence, everyone was now expected to record lectures and use the equipment to its full potential, after considerable financial investment had been made into the purchase and installation of the relevant hardware and sophisticated software.

teaching, recording, software

Why?

If a member of staff wanted to opt out they could submit a form (by a specific deadline) before the start of the term explaining their detailed reasons for not wishing to take part. It was up to the faculty Deans and Vice-Deans to decide (and sign the form) whether the permission would be granted.

After being emailed about the change in policy, over 50% of the academic staff had submitted an opt out application before the term had started. The majority were refused.

A passionate and well-respected teacher and researcher, Chris weighed up the pros and cons of the new policy. Chris had many concerns, including the lack of evidence that lecture recordings improved student performance, and academic staff not being consulted beforehand.

Having discussed the issue with other academic staff, Chris decided it was time to speak up and sent Sam a confidential email requesting that the policy be negotiated on behalf of all academic staff.

Where?

This is a generalised experience case presenting a negotiation exercise on the issue of lecture capture policy implementation in a higher education institution in the UK.

When?

Sam undertook a quick consultation with Faculty Deans and Vice-Deans for Student Learning in each Faculty over the summer of 2018, shortly after he started the job, and the policy was drafted and eventually finalised within a couple of months.

Staff were informed via email just four weeks before the start of the 2018/19 academic year.

Key quote

“So far, the policy has caused distress to staff and has generated a rift between staff and students. And yet the benefits of lecture capture practice for the students remain unclear. We are requesting an open discussion of the policy and that details can be reviewed and debated.”
An extract of Professor Traxton’s email to Professor Green.

What next?

Four weeks into the first term and Sam and Chris were heading towards the Discord Building for a negotiation meeting on the policy.

With Sam such a big lecture capture supporter, Chris was determined that university colleagues’ concerns were heard.

AUTHOR PERSPECTIVE 

The case for generalised experience

Nataliya said: “The topic I chose for the case is charged with tensions and disagreements. The topic has received noticeable media coverage and has been discussed widely by staff and students in public forums. This is, in part, why I chose the subject as I think it makes for an interesting case but at the same time, I realised it also makes it challenging to base it on any particular institution as it may single them out as a ‘special’ case. On the upside, the amount of information available in the public domain made it possible to create a case that hopefully appeals to many different institutional contexts and individual experiences.

“Another benefit of the chosen approach is the flexibility it allows to create a case suitable for a learning situation, which is complex and yet simple enough to make it usable for the facilitators in a realistic teaching session.  

“Choosing a generalised experience approach also allowed me to introduce elements of fiction, and blend information from different sources that were publicly available. The issues around lecture capture are very complex. Having a fictional case permitted it to benefit from a certain degree of intentional parsimony, which in turn makes it more accessible for the participants in the learning process. The names of the protagonists have been purposefully chosen to be gender neutral to allow participants to imagine a gender that suits them best."

boardroom, tensions, disagreements.

Relating to both teachers and students

Nataliya continued: “The intention was to present a scenario relatable to academic staff and academic managers. On the surface at least, students stand to benefit the most from lecture capture recordings and, in this sense, may be less interested in all the tensions and controversies around it.

“From my initial observations, students seem to want lecture capture without much reflection on the consequences, or at least this is how it is often presented by the Student Union leaders. However, this is now beginning to change and there is a growing awareness amongst students around the pros and cons of such technologies, and many students are asking questions and considering different sides of the argument.

“Hopefully this case can help students as well as academics and managers to appreciate the nuances of technological teaching innovations; it will be an additional bonus from my perspective.”

The need for a dilemma

She added: “Having a dilemma certainly generates a good hook for the audience and opens up avenues for exploration of the associated tensions. In this particular instance, having a negotiation activity where such dilemmas can be discussed and potentially resolved by everyone involved in the negotiation process introduces elements of interactivity and dynamism, which I hope will make this case interesting for different audiences.”

Working well in the classroom

Nataliya explained: “Pilot teaching sessions demonstrated that participants were able to step into the characters’ shoes, which was great to see. I also noticed that people superimposed their own personalities and preferences onto the characters in the case. This was exactly what I was hoping for, as long as they stuck to the key arguments. It was very interesting to observe participants reasoning around issues and reveal their values and preferences. That to me was evidence of engagement and also generated a lot of material for me as an educator to work with in later sessions. I’d be delighted to hear how it goes for other people and whether it starts debates in classrooms and beyond.”

Scholarship support

“The case writing scholarship was a fantastic resource.

“Firstly, writing the application helped me focus my initial thinking. Then I produced a rather awkward first draft, which was refined and re-written after I attended the case writing workshop. Attending the workshop placed me on a different track, saving me a lot of valuable time, and helped me refocus the case into a role play, which was more productive and engaging than my original idea of a lonely manager doing all the thinking. Having further feedback on drafts was very reassuring and created a sense of belonging.

“I got to work with someone who was keen on the teaching aspects of the case as well, which was invaluable for a novice writer. The admin support around submissions and questions I had was superb. I felt supported and appreciated for my work.”

THE CASE 

The case

Who – the protagonists

Professor Sam Green, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education at the University of Here and Now, and Professor of Sociology Chris Traxton.

What?

A few weeks into the new academic year, Sam was championing the recently implemented lecture capture policy.

Sam introduced the new teaching practice, known as lecture capture (CP), in order to take advantage of an underutilised resource at the University, namely a teaching recording software that had the capacity to capture lecture slides, the presenter’s voice and an optional video image of the presenter.

In essence, everyone was now expected to record lectures and use the equipment to its full potential, after considerable financial investment had been made into the purchase and installation of the relevant hardware and sophisticated software.

teaching, recording, software

Why?

If a member of staff wanted to opt out they could submit a form (by a specific deadline) before the start of the term explaining their detailed reasons for not wishing to take part. It was up to the faculty Deans and Vice-Deans to decide (and sign the form) whether the permission would be granted.

After being emailed about the change in policy, over 50% of the academic staff had submitted an opt out application before the term had started. The majority were refused.

A passionate and well-respected teacher and researcher, Chris weighed up the pros and cons of the new policy. Chris had many concerns, including the lack of evidence that lecture recordings improved student performance, and academic staff not being consulted beforehand.

Having discussed the issue with other academic staff, Chris decided it was time to speak up and sent Sam a confidential email requesting that the policy be negotiated on behalf of all academic staff.

Where?

This is a generalised experience case presenting a negotiation exercise on the issue of lecture capture policy implementation in a higher education institution in the UK.

When?

Sam undertook a quick consultation with Faculty Deans and Vice-Deans for Student Learning in each Faculty over the summer of 2018, shortly after he started the job, and the policy was drafted and eventually finalised within a couple of months.

Staff were informed via email just four weeks before the start of the 2018/19 academic year.

Key quote

“So far, the policy has caused distress to staff and has generated a rift between staff and students. And yet the benefits of lecture capture practice for the students remain unclear. We are requesting an open discussion of the policy and that details can be reviewed and debated.”
An extract of Professor Traxton’s email to Professor Green.

What next?

Four weeks into the first term and Sam and Chris were heading towards the Discord Building for a negotiation meeting on the policy.

With Sam such a big lecture capture supporter, Chris was determined that university colleagues’ concerns were heard.

AUTHOR PERSPECTIVE 

Author perspective

The case for generalised experience

Nataliya said: “The topic I chose for the case is charged with tensions and disagreements. The topic has received noticeable media coverage and has been discussed widely by staff and students in public forums. This is, in part, why I chose the subject as I think it makes for an interesting case but at the same time, I realised it also makes it challenging to base it on any particular institution as it may single them out as a ‘special’ case. On the upside, the amount of information available in the public domain made it possible to create a case that hopefully appeals to many different institutional contexts and individual experiences.

“Another benefit of the chosen approach is the flexibility it allows to create a case suitable for a learning situation, which is complex and yet simple enough to make it usable for the facilitators in a realistic teaching session.  

“Choosing a generalised experience approach also allowed me to introduce elements of fiction, and blend information from different sources that were publicly available. The issues around lecture capture are very complex. Having a fictional case permitted it to benefit from a certain degree of intentional parsimony, which in turn makes it more accessible for the participants in the learning process. The names of the protagonists have been purposefully chosen to be gender neutral to allow participants to imagine a gender that suits them best."

boardroom, tensions, disagreements.

Relating to both teachers and students

Nataliya continued: “The intention was to present a scenario relatable to academic staff and academic managers. On the surface at least, students stand to benefit the most from lecture capture recordings and, in this sense, may be less interested in all the tensions and controversies around it.

“From my initial observations, students seem to want lecture capture without much reflection on the consequences, or at least this is how it is often presented by the Student Union leaders. However, this is now beginning to change and there is a growing awareness amongst students around the pros and cons of such technologies, and many students are asking questions and considering different sides of the argument.

“Hopefully this case can help students as well as academics and managers to appreciate the nuances of technological teaching innovations; it will be an additional bonus from my perspective.”

The need for a dilemma

She added: “Having a dilemma certainly generates a good hook for the audience and opens up avenues for exploration of the associated tensions. In this particular instance, having a negotiation activity where such dilemmas can be discussed and potentially resolved by everyone involved in the negotiation process introduces elements of interactivity and dynamism, which I hope will make this case interesting for different audiences.”

Working well in the classroom

Nataliya explained: “Pilot teaching sessions demonstrated that participants were able to step into the characters’ shoes, which was great to see. I also noticed that people superimposed their own personalities and preferences onto the characters in the case. This was exactly what I was hoping for, as long as they stuck to the key arguments. It was very interesting to observe participants reasoning around issues and reveal their values and preferences. That to me was evidence of engagement and also generated a lot of material for me as an educator to work with in later sessions. I’d be delighted to hear how it goes for other people and whether it starts debates in classrooms and beyond.”

Scholarship support

“The case writing scholarship was a fantastic resource.

“Firstly, writing the application helped me focus my initial thinking. Then I produced a rather awkward first draft, which was refined and re-written after I attended the case writing workshop. Attending the workshop placed me on a different track, saving me a lot of valuable time, and helped me refocus the case into a role play, which was more productive and engaging than my original idea of a lonely manager doing all the thinking. Having further feedback on drafts was very reassuring and created a sense of belonging.

“I got to work with someone who was keen on the teaching aspects of the case as well, which was invaluable for a novice writer. The admin support around submissions and questions I had was superb. I felt supported and appreciated for my work.”

THE CASE 

The authors

Nataliya Rumyantseva
Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Organisational Behaviour
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