Whilst we try to ensure that you have the tools you need available there are occasions where you will require something we do not offer. In principle we are not against this but there are a number of considerations that you should make before deciding on a tool.
It may be that a tool that we support at Aston is able to achieve what you require but is functionality which that tool is not normally used. It is always worth contacting the Technology-Enhanced Learning team to discuss if there is something suitable that we can point you towards. There are benefits to using our standard offerings rather than third-party tools even if they don’t quite meet your requirements. These include support from the TEL team and often greater integration with other university systems.
If this tool is something that might benefit the entire university rather than just a single programme or cohort it is worth putting in a business case for a site-wide license agreement. Making a university-wide purchase affords the possibility of a more favourable license and cheaper unit costs.
GDPR and Student Information
All of our standard software has been thoroughly vetted to ensure it meets all requirements of the GDPR and the Data Protection Act. This has a focus on where and how student information is stored and what control the user has over it. Please discuss any purchase with the Legal Team at Aston to ensure that the same considerations are met by your third party tool. Failure to do so could have catastrophic outcomes if an issue arises and compliance with GDPR is a legal requirement.
As far as is possible, all of our software is guaranteed to be available for the duration of the lifetime of any of our courses, this may not be the case with third-party tools. If you cannot obtain a license for multiple years ensure that you have an alternative option in place in the event that access to the software is withdrawn.
Another consideration is the scope of your license. Bear in mind that many of our students are outside both the UK and the EU and potentially might not be covered by a standard license which could cause issues down the line.
As many of our students are based outside the UK and indeed the EU it is essential that you ensure that any third party tool you use is accesible universally or at least that other alternatives are available where necessary.
Aston falls under the auspices of the Accessibility Regulations 2018 and as such have an onus to ensure that any website, tool or other learning content meets the requirements of those regulations. This includes any third party tools that are used by our staff and students and as such it is imperative that you ensure that any tool you are consider does meet those requirements. it may be worth speaking to the Enabling Team who can advise on accessibility.
The biggest consideration to make when using third-party learning material as part of your module offering is that of copyright. You must ensure that you have the legal right to use the content you are using in the context that it is being used. The Library have an excellent Copyright Guide. Additionally, it might be worth speaking to your school / college representative for more specific advice.