VHS Tapes in the Classroom: Suggestions for Instructors

The University began phasing out VCR’s, which play VHS tapes, in University-managed classrooms in 2012.  As a result a limited and decreasing number of classrooms are equipped with VCRs.  To identify classrooms equipped with VCR’s please use The Teaching Center’s Classroom Directory.

Instructors who would like to request a classroom with a VCR should work with their department’s course-listing administrator to submit this request to the Office of the University Registrar.

For instructors who are exploring options to replace a VHS tape 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.

If it is not possible to re-purchase the media,

  • Contact the Olin Library Reserves Department at reserve@wumail.wustl.edu to inquire about options for making library-owned media digitally available to students enrolled in the course.  The conversion of VHS recordings is dependent on the quality of the tape.  Please allow at least one week to process your request.
  • Faculty in Arts and Sciences may contact Arts & Sciences Computing to convert VHS recordings of original, non-copyrighted, material to digital formats in the Creative Lab (Eads Hall 007).  The Creative lab staff will train faculty or graduate students on the process and equipment in the lab.  (Please note again that the media transferred from VHS to DVD often results in a lower-quality product.)  To inquire further, please contact Larry Mollard (PC Specialists, Arts and Sciences computing) or send an email to artscihelp@wustl.edu.
    • Remember, it is your responsibility to follow copyright rules when transferring VHS content to digital media.  We recommend that you avoid transferring copyrighted material as you may violate copyright law.

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