3. The wider context

Purpose: Demonstrate awareness of and engagement with wider issues that inform their practice.

3 a) IPR compliance [Legal]

Requirement: Understanding and engaging with legislation, policies and standards
Description / Evidence

What I did

As many of the podcasts and videos that we planned to record were to appear publically on History SPOT it was important to be certain that we were complying with IPR. The Institute of Historical Research (IHR) had never recorded audio or video for this purpose before but the School of Advanced Study had already created a licence form which was to be filled in by speakers. I decided that we should use the same form to maintain standards across the School but that the website itself, also needed pages explaining copyright, privacy and general IPR for both the audio-visual content and for the tutorials and handbooks.

Using elements from existing IHR and SAS policies and looking at the Open Learn website (which was the only significant open access learning site available at the time) I drew up a set of policies for History SPOT. Once written I checked with the legal department at the University of London to ensure compliance. These pages were then added to the website and enforced in its daily operation.

Evidence:

·         SAS Podcast Licence Form

·         Original policy documents: Copyright; Privacy; Takedown policy; terms of use.

·         PORT policy document links Disclaimers and Copyright; Privacy and Cookies.

Reflection There was never any opportunity to test the IPR related policies on History SPOT as no claim, complaint, or question was ever raised by users and/or the general public. The process was useful to me, however, as this was an element of web design that I had not thought much about in the past. The process of writing my own version of a copyright and privacy statement and having that rectified helped me to understand the rules and laws governing websites, content, and interactions.I did have to revise these statements again when I managed the development of History SPOT’s replacement, PORT. In this instance there was a good deal of re-use but also an attempt to link the policy closer to the more general policy of SAS. Since first creating History SPOT I have learnt that it is important to consider not just the website itself and the activities involved with it (i.e. seminars etc), but also to have an understanding of the wider polices in the School and University more generally.  I do not feel that I quite understood this when I first set out to create the documents, but I did quickly learn of its importance.

The impact goes two ways although the user point of view was never tested. For the creators the policy meant that podcasted events could not be edited until a signed licence form was provided. This sometimes slowed down production. It also meant more work in terms of collection and retrieval of forms. For other aspects of the website, it meant that we had to check content thoroughly for potential copyright/royalty infringements and privacy issues. Whatever content was created by any individual author would need to be checked.

3 b) Policy documents [Policy]

Requirement: Understanding and engaging with legislation, policies and standards
Description / Evidence  What I did

PORT is intended to support arts and humanities postgraduate students across the United Kingdom. The intention is that PORT can act as an adjunct to training provided by the students home institutions and in some instances as samples for face to face training held regularly by the School of Advanced Study. The website therefore must be compliant with the general policies and strategies of UK Higher Education in the Arts and Humanities.

Whilst developing an initial plan for PORT I read national policy documents such as:

·         AHRC The Human World AHRC Strategy 2013-2018

·         AHRC Research Training Framework for Doctoral Students

·         ESRC Delivery Plan 2011-2015

·         Jisc strategy 2013-16

·         SAS Institute Strategic Plans

I have also continued to update this document with new policy documents as I became aware of them. For example:

·         RCUK – Statement of Expectations for Postgraduate Training (January 2015)

·         HEFCE Business plan 2015-2020 (February 2015)

In 2015 the strategy documents for each of the School’s Institutes was made available to me and I added summaries to the document with particular note to potential areas of collaboration.

EVIDENCE: Summary sheet – national polices for postgraduate research training in the UK Higher Education sector

 

Reflection By placing policy at the heart of the designing process I ensured that student learning outcomes would be compliant with current policy and in-house training provided by individual Higher Education institutions in the UK. All tutorials in development for PORT (from January 2015 onwards) uses these policy documents as a basis for their learning outputs and outcomes.In addition, continued updating of this document has proven useful for forthcoming ideas. Earlier in 2015 an opportunity developed to ask for funding from the LAHP network, on the subject of interdisiplinarity. We were able to make a case for funding of a workshop on the subject and for the creation of various online tutorials, because we were able to demonstrate interest in the School on the subject from the strategy documents.

EVIDENCE: LAHP Training Fund application (Feb 2015): Space In-Between.

The process has made me realise that it is important to read policy documentation as they can offer useful ideas and avenues for collaboration and discussion. This is not something that I had put too much thought into until I started the development of the PORT VLE.

Due to my own time constraints, however, I have not made the most of the summary document. I would have liked to discuss possibilities with all the Institutes and formed a feasible plan for what they might wish to do and on how those wishes might fit into wider UK policies. However, I have been unable to meet with everyone and this is therefore a slower process. I hope that the impact of running workshops on online training and Moodle for SAS staff next academic year will act as a springboard and enable me to better communicate interests and develop contacts in this area.

Core Areas