Box of Broadcasts: free access to TV and radio programmes for teaching and research

Posted by rmt22 at Aug 07, 2017 02:10 PM |
Imagine if you had free access to hundreds of thousands of hours of television and radio broadcasts to use as a teaching resource wherever it suited you.

Well you do. All of our staff and students can use The Box of Broadcasts (BoB) which contains around 2 million TV and radio programmes from more than 65 channels. It includes content from all terrestrial stations, and many from across Europe. All the programmes are copyright cleared so you can use them in your teaching and research, safe in the knowledge that you’re doing so legally.

And it’s not just recordings that you can access. You can also request a recent programme be added to the collection (up to 30 days after broadcast), search the archive using keywords of your choice (including checking transcripts not just titles) and make clips, collating them into playlists for your students.

Case studies

Our staff have already embraced the technology and have been at the forefront of producing curated collections. The first of these was the blog site BiologyOnTheBox set up by Chris Willmott in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.

Dr Willmott said: “I wanted to produce a repository that bioscience staff here and at other UK Universities could use to locate interesting TV and radio programmes to enhance their teaching. This would sometimes simply be a case of flagging up what was available, but I wanted to be able to share more details about how a particular clip had been used in teaching, including additional resources. It wasn’t possible to do all of this within BoB, hence the idea for an additional blog on the topic.”

Used in tandem with the Television and Radio Index for Learning and Teaching (TRILT), BoB can help researchers find and select source materials.

“Over the last couple of years I’ve had final year students using BoB and TRILT to find materials to critique in their dissertations” states Dr Willmott “I can see this becoming more common, especially for students considering a move into Science Communication roles after graduation”.

There are other discipline-specific resources at EnglishOnTheBox (set up by Ruth Page) and HistoryOnTheBox (run by Zoe Knox and Stan Neal).

Stan said: “I've been able to create short clips for use in lectures and seminars, and recommend programmes to students. The ability to record or request specific programmes has also been crucial for our blog, where History PhD students showcase their expertise for a public audience.”

Useful links

Box of Broadcasts

Television and Radio Index for Learning and Teaching

You will need to create an account and log in at both sites in order for your materials to be collated in your user area.

Dr Willmott would be very happy to discuss BoB with any colleagues wanting to explore the potential of this service in either their teaching or research, just email him at

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