Closed Captioning: Getting Your Lines Right

As lecture capture and distance learning take hold in higher ed, colleges pursue different approaches to the issue of closed captioning and transcription.

From article by Bridget McCrea posted on

The rapid growth of lecture capture and distance education in higher education is raising fresh concerns about accessibility, since it’s difficult–if not impossible–for hearing-impaired students to use these tools effectively. As a result, many colleges and universities are renewing their focus on closed captioning as a viable solution.

While the impetus for closed captioning stems from a desire to accommodate students with hearing issues, schools are also discovering that closed captioning has broader appeal, particularly among students for whom English is a second language. And for the rest of the students on campus, there’s one other big benefit: It allows them to search captured content quickly, by enabling keyword searches.

Closing in on Automation
George Mason University (VA) believes the answer is yes. The school, whose population comprises an increasing number of students with disabilities–including veterans who are deaf or hard of hearing–already uses remote Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services in the classroom. This technology allows a deaf or hearing-impaired person to use a password and username to log onto the web and view a real-time text translation of what’s being said in class. (The system requires a trained operator at a remote location to provide manual transcription.)

Now, the university is looking to replace that system with a more automated solution. It recently approved a “caption proposal” that will allow faculty to upload their files and have them captioned quickly.

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