As seen on TV: using video clips in science teaching
conference contributionposted on 11.03.2011, 12:31 by Christopher J.R. Willmott
In the autumn of 2006, a UK publishing house sent an e-mail to academics pointing out that you can ‘enrich your students’ learning experience through the use of quality broadcast documentaries, dramas and current affairs programming’. The memo went on to advise that, for £195 per episode (falling to £125 per episode if 4 or more were ordered), they could provide copies of classic BBC programmes for lectures, tutorials and workshops. As an enthusiastic user of TV footage in my teaching particularly, but not exclusively, in the field of bioethics, I thoroughly endorse the sentiment of the circulated message. Experience shows that broadcast material can, indeed, be a way to enliven lectures, to convey concepts and ideas that even the most animated of PowerPoint slides cannot achieve, and can serve as excellent discussion starters. Thanks, however, to the Educational Recording Agency (ERA) and the British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC) there is no need to pay such substantial fees for the right to use programmes. This short article is intended to offer practical advice on the more cost effective ways to obtain television programmes, both at the time of transmission and archived copies of previous broadcasts, and guidance on the legal use of available material.