BoB: did it deliver?
We’ve now come to the end of the first academic year in which the University has subscribed to BoB (Box of Broadcasts) and I think I can reasonably sum up the experience by saying that it’s been one of the best learning technologies I’ve been involved in adopting / promoting.
The response from academic colleagues who have used it has been excellent, with comments including “it will transform my teaching”. The service has been very reliable for the most part and it has required very little in the way of support.
Prompted by a query from another institution considering whether to invest in it for next year, I’ve just taken a look at the usage figures to which I have access as the local system administrator. Between 1 October 2012 and 23 July 2013, 2955 programmes have been ‘requested’ (ie flagged up to be recorded); 17085 programmes have been watched; and there are 1072 registered users. The most popular channel was E4 (which no doubt reflects the fact that students can log into BoB to watch an entire season of the latest cult series) closely followed by BBC 4 and then BBC 2, both of which are excellent sources for academic purposes.
What this doesn’t tell you, of course, is the impact of one viewing in a lecture theatre, where there might be 300+ students. It also doesn’t capture the reduced risk of copyright infringement through automation of the ERA return (relating to copyright in off-air recordings of radio / TV programmes.
Remember too that BoB also archives radio programmes, as in the screenshot here which features Prof Liz Stokoe’s recent starring role in “The LIfe Scientific” on Radio 4.