VHS Tapes in the Classroom: Suggestions for Instructors

Due to the decreasing number of manufacturers producing video cassette recorders (VCRs), the University began phasing out the replacement of VCRs in University-managed classrooms in 2012. For faculty who use VHS tapes in teaching and who are exploring options to replace the tapes with digital media, the University Libraries and The Teaching Center offer the following suggestions:

  • The preferred solution is to re-purchase the media in DVD, mp-4, or another digital format. Prior to purchase, contact your Subject Librarian regarding the availability of VHS alternatives. The Libraries maintain subscriptions with vendors for commercially available videos on demand. In addition, Arts & Sciences faculty can submit a funding proposal to Larry Kuykendall for the purchase of copyrighted material for teaching. Each request will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • If it is not possible to re-purchase the media,
    • Contact the Olin Library Interlibrary Loan/Reserves Department at reserve@wumail.wustl.edu to inquire about options for making the media digitally available to students enrolled in the course.
    • Arts & Sciences faculty may copy VHS recordings of original, non-copyrighted material onto DVDs (or other formats that may be transferred to a WUSTL BOX folder or other cloud services) in the Creative Lab (lower-level, Eads Hall). The Creative Lab staff will train faculty (or TAs) on how to complete the transfer with the equipment available in the lab. (Please note, however, that media transferred from VHS to DVD often results in a much lower-quality product.) To inquire on the needed lead-time for this service, or for other questions, please contact Larry Mollard (PC Specialist, Arts and Sciences Computing).
    • Remember to consider copyright when investigating options for transferring VHS to digital media. For example, we do not recommend transferring copyrighted material to a DVD or other portable format.
    • There are a limited number of university-managed classrooms that still have video-cassette recorders (VCRs). Please use the Classroom Directory to identify these rooms. If you would like to request a room with a VCR, please contact the Office of the University Registrar.

If you would like assistance with VHS recordings that are non-course-related, please contact the University Libraries Instructional Support Services (ISS), located inside the Arc, Olin Library, level A.

If you have any questions, please contact: Liz Peterson (Associate Director for Classroom Growth, The Teaching Center) and Ted Chaffin (Head, Instructional Support Services, University Libraries).

Image: Sony SLV-M20HF VCR featuring SmartFile by Deeper Thought, licensed under Wikimedia Commons