Box of Broadcasts (BoB) is a huge online archive of over 2 million TV and radio recordings dating back years that HE and FE staff and students can access and use in-class and online. It’s a bit like the BBC’s iPlayer, except that it covers ALL UK free-to-air TV and radio channels, and that the recordings don’t become unavailable after 28 days.

Here are some other great features:

  • you can use the Guide to automatically request the recording of a programme;
  • when you search and find a recording you’d like to use, you can save it to a playlist;
  • you can save one or more clips from a recording, for example just the key segments;
  • it is easy to link or embed those clips in Blackboard;
  • BoB automatically generates citations for each recording or clip.

If you wish to show recordings or clips in class, I recommend that you add the links to the Blackboard module for easy access. That will also enable your students to review the clips later if they wish.

Note that students can also log in to BoB, find recordings and save them to their own playlists. This raises the possibility of multimedia essays, which include links (with citations) to short clips that form part of their analysis and argument.


The recording quality of older programmes is not great, especially for students used to HD on Netflix etc.

When viewing recordings of foreign language films, the subtitles are part of the recording and cannot be switched off.

The search facility needs good keywords to minimise spurious results, and I recommend you also use the search options to further filter these:

BoB search filterrs

How to use Box of Broadcasts

You can access BoB at:

To Log in: Click the Sign in button, type your institution (Aston), choose Aston University OpenAthens from the list and click Go. Then log in using your normal Aston username and password.

Tutorial videos for BoB

How to add BoB recordings to Blackboard

You can add a simple link, or you can embed the video so it can be viewed on the page.

Note that you (and your students) will need to log in to BoB using the process above the first time only in order to view a linked video. It remembers your login until you close your Web browser.

The easiest way to add a link is to view the recording/clip on BoB and click the Share button beneath it. Copy the WAYFless link URL and use that  to create a Web Link on Blackboard (see 1 in screenshot below).

If you create an Item on Blackboard, type a title and then a text description. Select some words and create a link using the WAYFless URL(see 2 below).  Be sure to select the option Target: Open in new window (_Blank) so the video opens in a new tab, otherwise your students will lose their place in Blackboard. This is more work than a Web Link!

If you just paste the URL into an Item, it looks bad and can’t be clicked (see 3 below).

A great option is to embed the video (see 4 below). View the recording/clip on BoB and click the Share button beneath it. Copy the Embed code and create an Item in Blackboard. Type a title and then click the HTML button on the editor. Paste the Embed code into the HTML code view window that appears, click Update and then Submit.

Blackboard item content editor, showing HTML button

Four ways to link to a BoB recording:

Blackboard screenshot showing four ways to link to a BoB video.

6 revisions

  • 6

Page information

  • Published: 6 years ago
  • Updated: 6 years ago