Panel Presentation Summaries

Panel: Video Accessibility

The panel on video accessibility was facilitated by Doug Hayman of UW and included four technology and accessibility specialists: Kerri Holferty, Craig Kerr, Karen Ehnat, and Krista Greear. Panel members answered the following questions:

How do you fulfill captioning and other technical accommodation requests?

  • We use the vendor REV; they charge one dollar for each video minute. The upside of a service like REV is, unlike some services, we keep ownership of the video and captions, and they take less than a day to create captions. However, it takes about 5-8 hours of in-house work to time the captions to the video—a lot of us have very small offices where this is not a sustainable practice.
  • We try to be proactive by finding out what videos faculty are using before classes begin. We encourage faculty to get their videos captioned themselves.
  • While we try to notify all instructors before the quarter that we need their materials to be accessible, instructors often don’t open their email until the first day of class. Sometimes we don’t hear about a video not being captioned until after the fact from the student or their interpreter. We always feel like we’re playing catch up.
  • With YouTube, you can upload and share videos with computer-generated captions, but you need to edit the captions to make them accurate.
  • There are some apps that some instructors use to create videos, and a lot of them aren’t accessible or can only be accessible for a large fee. We are trying to teach faculty about what tools are available for captions.
  • We use Panopto’s captioning service which is imbedded into the system. It costs two dollars a video minute, but it’s done quickly and you can download the transcript.
  • We host captioning parties. We invite faculty, staff, and students to sit together, learn how to caption, and complete a number of videos in one day.
  • We are currently looking for a captioning service that we could use statewide at all higher education institutions.

Do you provide training to professors for accessibility or captioning of videos?

  • We provide short, clear instructions for how to turn the captions on!
  • We’ve started a new accessibility team, and part of what they do is lead trainings on how to create accessible videos.
  • Training on Canvas includes captioning. We also have a workshop on creating accessible captions on YouTube.

Does your campus provide captioning beyond accommodation requests?

  • We’d like to do more, but we don’t currently have the time or manpower; however, our e-learning program received a stipend to make all videos and text accessible. All e-learning faculty learn to caption.
  • Sometimes we have faculty who request all of their materials to be accessible. We are also working with the office of the president to make all of our outward facing videos accessible.
  • We have to balance need and resources. In 2015, we had one deaf student in a class where the professor utilized a flipped classroom; it cost $10,000 dollars for one month making materials accessible to this student.
  • By teaching faculty that captions can make videos more accessible for more than just students with disabilities, we have piqued more interest in it. Captions help ELL students, students who want to search the video, and a variety of other types of students.

Have you ever had copyright issues with captioning?

  • Accommodation laws trump copyright laws. We often go through the library to get copyright permission and do our due diligence in receiving permission.
  • Captioning shouldn’t create copyright- concerns because we aren’t affecting the content of the video. However we do speak to the copyright librarian if necessary.

Have you ever had to get audio description as an accommodation?

  • We have been lucky enough that most videos have given a full enough narrative in the dialogue of the video. We often work with the student and the professor to decide if we need to provide audio description and how much.
  • We have a service to provide audio description, but the student has to view the video in the library. We’ve also had a professor provide an alternative video option for a student when we couldn’t get the audio description. Obviously neither of these situations are ideal.
  • We recommend Able Player, developed by the ATS of the UW, as a great accessible media tool, since it can show captioning and audio description.

How does live captioning or CART work?

  • Someone using a shorthand system types everything at a very fast pace. The service we use is QuickCaption.

Panel: Student Perspectives

Five students—Kayla Wheeler, Anna Marie Golden, Hannah Werbel, Alicia Teasley, and Blake Geyen, who have diverse disabilities—shared the types of technology they use and what ensures that they have access.

What technology do you use on a regular basis?

  • Surface tablets are lightweight and have a small keyboard, making them easier to use and carry around for some individuals with mobility impairments.
  • Sticky Keys, a feature included in Microsoft products, allows me to hit multiple keys at once with only one finger, because it continues to “hold” the key down after it’s pushed. This feature allows me to use normal keyboard shortcuts and other simple keyboard functions.
  • E-readers, like the Nook, Kindle, and even the iPad, are great for reading PDFs of textbooks and class readings, so I don’t have to carry a large number of heavy textbooks.
  • As a deaf student, I use my Surface tablet for real time captioning, and I also use a note taker in class so I can focus on the captions without feeling like I’m getting behind.
  • LiveScribe, a pen that records audio that is linked to written notes, eliminates the worry that I am missing some of the class material.
  • I use a screen magnifier for my laptop or phone and a regular magnifying glass for printed material.
  • I use a voice box to communicate with peers and professors and a word predicting processing system to speed up my typing. I also use Inspiration Map, which allows me to create outlines for my papers and not have to write the entire thing out.

What challenges do you have regularly when working with instructors and peers?

  • While taking math, science, and engineering classes, I can often get lost in graphs and diagrams, and it’s hard to make sense of notes if you can’t follow along. I’ve now worked with professors and my technology to problem solve the situation and find better solutions for figuring out images and graphs.
  • Writing out exams can be a challenge, but I’ve overcome it by using a computer to type test answers and essays.
  • I always have to ask teachers to put on the captioning, and most of them don’t realize you have to edit YouTube’s auto captions to make them accurate. It is difficult to watch the captions and take notes at the same time.
  • I use a note taker so I can pay attention to the professor but still have good notes. However, since the note takers work on a volunteer basis, they sometimes don’t take very good notes or don’t provide notes in a timely manner.
  • Professors often don’t post test information until it’s too late to request the accommodations. They don’t understand how it can take get accommodations.

How comfortable were you discussing your disability with your professor or bringing up your accommodations?

  • If a professor didn’t have updated Disability Resource Services (DRS) information on their syllbus or weren’t open to talking about diversity issues, these were red flags that they probably weren’t understanding about disability or accommodations.
  • I’ve had a teacher announce my disability to the whole class and blame me as the reason we had to change how a test worked. I had to talk to that teacher in private and let them know how they made me feel and how inappropriate it was to share my disability with the class. Often instructors don’t realize what they are doing is wrong.
  • Teachers should be required to take a class on accommodations and disability services. Teachers should also learn that students with disabilities are people, too. Professors often make the wrong decision because they are anxious and unsure in the situation.
  • A lot of teachers just assume DRS will handle everything, but that isn’t always the case; DRS may only step in after a student has tried to work out the problem with the professor. Many newer professors are willing to talk, but sometimes older professors don’t want to change their curriculum for one student.
  • I try to talk to my professor about universal design and how the accommodations needed for me could actually help everyone in the class.

How is group work affected by your disability?

  • I often have to tell my group that we need to collaborate early since it takes me more time to prepare my part for a project. Students usually seem to understand that I need time to use my technology and that we need to meet somewhere that is physically accessible to me.
  • In one of my programs, the work room was up three flights of stairs. I asked for us to meet somewhere else, but the other room assigned to us didn’t have a white board. I always felt like my group held a grudge against me because I couldn’t reach our original workroom.
  • I’ve had partners assume I won’t do any of the work in a group project. I’m willing to do just as much or more work than other partners.

What’s your biggest wish?

  • If you want to learn how a student with a disability can take your class, ask him or her rather than assuming you or someone else knows what the student needs.
  • Don’t assume one student speaks for all other students with a disability.
  • It would be good if faculty and staff understood that accessible technology exists and that students use it. For example, if they are providing a PDF file, there needs to be a text-selectable, tagged, accessible version of that PDF.
  • Instructions should be more specific with web reading. I have had teachers who just tell me to search for the information, but many resources are not easily accessible to me. Someone who is sighted can find the information much quicker.
  • I wish the automatic captioning on YouTube was more accurate. I have friends who can just search on YouTube and teach themselves with educational videos; if videos are not captioned, I have to go to the tutoring center or the professor to access the same content.
  • I wish all schools used the same technology tools. There are a myriad of different systems, software, and learning management systems, each with their own accessibility issues. Just taking the time to learn each different tool and find out how to make it work for me is tedious.
  • I wish faculty, instructors, vendors, and staff were educated on accessibility.
  • I wish instructors made sure all homework is accessible before it is given to the students.