Tutorial Captioning Benefits Deaf Students’ Access

A blog by @mircwalsh

Tutorial Captioning Benefits Deaf Students’ Access

Premier Captioning Wicklow are proud to advise that they are working with a deaf student at Trinity College Dublin to provide support in group tutorials where students are asked to discuss questions or issues raised by the tutor.

The service is remote, which means the transcriber does not have to be physically in the room. This makes it less intrusive for the student and convenient for PCR staff, who do not need to travel. All that’s needed, is for the college’s IT department to set up internet access to the room, and for the lecturer to wear a small microphone to enhance the Skype audio.

The text is relayed to the captioner via the Internet and the student receives the captioner’s text either through their own laptop or even their iPhone. This means they are in no way different to any other student.

CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) is a well-known solution in the US and is cited in the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). It is available at most schools and universities in the United States and PCR (Premier Captioning & Realtime) is actively promoting CART here in Ireland.

PCR’s Michelle Coffey explains, “Our plans are to have it provided anywhere and everywhere it is needed!” She adds, “I’d love to have people knocking on our door asking about the service”. The reality however is that not many people know about it. She hopes however that when people do, they will see the benefits and ask access officers in education about the service.

One barrier PCR finds is that access officers in universities tend to ask students to tell them what services they require rather than telling the students what is available. The student is at a disadvantage before the first lecture even begins, as they may not know about all the services available.

Another drawback is that some schools/ colleges cannot afford the service due to budgetary constraints where services are being cut, not increased.

PCR recently explored the podcast market by publicly transcribing audio and video messages, a videophone message and You Tube clips. They have transcribed podcasts to gauge the time needed. This would help educators in Ireland, where podcasts are increasingly used in teaching.

The benefits of CART are endless and don’t stop at education as the service can also be used for conferences, theatre, product launches and more.

Future plans for PCR include exploring the theatre and cinema markets, with the possibility of captioning a play or Christmas pantomime.

For now however their focus is on education.

This is a big step forward for PCR as Trinity College is the first university they have worked with. However, the academic year has only just begun so any interested parties can contact PCR for more details about their services.

Further reading:

Premier Captioning & Realtime

Communication Access Information Center (US-based)