Box of Broadcasts

Box of Broadcast, BoBDeveloped by the boffins in the Media School, Bournemouth University,  and Cambridge Imaging Systems Box of Broadcast (BoB) is a brilliant addition to the learning and teaching resources we have access to.

So, what is BoB (in my best Blackadder impersonation; heavy on the first ‘b’).

Box of Broadcast is “an off-air recording and media archive service … users can record programmes, watch programmes from the archive, create clips, search for programmes coming up in the next seven days by title or keyword, compile their favourite shows into playlists and share these with others.” It’s been available to Bournemouth University for a couple of years now, with new Institutions coming on board all the time.

Great. So participating Institutions (I’m just a user, not part of the development team) can search through the listing for over 50 freeview television and radio channels, for the next seven days and select any for recording. Also available is a buffer for the previous seven days (limited channels) so you can revisit today and record something you saw last night. You can search the very wide archive that stretches back prior to 2007 when the system was first released.

What’s the advantage of this then, for academic usage? Let’s see …

I work in the Business School, and there is plenty going on in the news at the moment. Academic staff are able to record the major news channels and create clips from the broadcasted materials. Whether its about the current economic climate (Finance & Business) or the legal case being brought for unfair dismissal of the head of Haringey Council (Contract law), the news can be brought into the classroom, legally.

While the system records the programmes, it also records the advert breaks too. This means that, for Marketing and Consumer Behaviour, small clips can be made to showcase types of advertising, how programme makers deal with selling advertising space between the different programmes, etc.

The limit on who this can be used is really down to your imagination; the Media School use it to record things like Lost and Heroes, especially as these programmes have very complex script-writing and story-lines,  The Conservation Science School use it for the natural history programmes, as well as things like Time Team and CSI (hey, there’s reality in the processes, if not the delivery).

In one instance, a BoB programme was used as the basis for an Assignment: the recording was made and presented to the students as the background to the assignment. The students were then asked to use background reading, around the programme subject area, on the specifics of the assignment. Although the report was in written format, there would be nothing stopping the student.


What are the advantages of this system?
Only students and staff at participating Institutions can access the material, and they must be physically locate in the UK for the geo-caching system to allow them access. All copyright and license issues are taken care of by the system and access abilities.

It also removes that embarrassing moment in the lecture when you switch to YouTube to show the clip (of dubious origin) from some programme or other .. only to find it’s been removes since you last checked. Material can be accessed on- or off-campus, so students can revisit the material as and when they like.