Captioning and Subtitling Services

Posts tagged ‘higher education’

Are You Compliant with New Federal Captioning Guidelines?

New Federal Captioning Guidelines – Beginning January 18, 2018, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was “refreshed” to require that information and communication technology in the public sector, especially web content, be accessible to all.  Section 508 addresses not only federal agencies but is widely applied to state and local entities such as colleges and universities that receive federal funding.  If you represent such an agency, are you compliant with new federal captioning guidelines?

Overview

According to GCN: Technology, Tools and Tactics for Public Sector IT, Section 508 deals with electronic services including “web page content, PDF documents, and audio and video content,”  specifying requirements to ensure that all web content is accessible to people with disabilities, such as deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals.  These guidelines, which were ordered in January of 2017, are meant to keep pace with rapid advances in technology, such as the rising use of Internet video and live webcasts across devices.

New Federal Captioning Guidelines and Requirements

To achieve its goals, Section 508 incorporates the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.  WCAG 2.0 defines how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Of particular interest to federal agencies using video web content, Success Criterion 1.2.2 of WCAG 2.0 states, “Captions are provided for all prerecorded audio content in synchronized media.”  Examples of prerecorded synchronized media might include video tutorials or artistic performances.  Success Criterion 1.2.4 states, “Captions are provided for all live audio content in synchronized media,” and examples include live news webcasts or realtime artistic performances.  In both cases, captions should provide dialogue AND non-speech information such as sound effects and other significant audio.

State and Local Captioning Requirements

Although New Federal Captioning Guidelines Section 508 places requirements on federal agencies, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act may also require colleges and universities receiving federal funds to adhere to Section 508.  According to the EDUCAUSE Review, institutions of higher education are now facing class-action lawsuits over the issue of accessible websites.  Based on complaints from advocacy groups such as the National Association of the Deaf and the U.S. Department of Education, “Higher education should now be on notice: Anyone with an Internet connection can now file a complaint or civil lawsuit, not just students with disabilities.”

CompuScripts Can Help with New Federal Captioning Guidelines

If you represent a federal agency or an institution of higher learning which produces Internet video content, CompuScripts can bring you into compliance with Section 508 captioning requirements.  CompuScripts offers both realtime and postproduction captioning services.  Additionally, CompuScripts is endorsed by the Described and Captioned Media Program, which is administered by the National Association of the Deaf and funded by the U.S. Department of Education.   Contact CompuScripts Captioning to help your agency or school comply with Section 508.

Cochlear Implants and Classroom CART

In our June 2013 blog, we discussed the use of CART, or Communication Access Realtime Translation, by Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing students in college classrooms.  This month, we look at a group of students whose need for CART services might not be immediately apparent:  those with cochlear implants.

Many people incorrectly believe that once a Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing student is fitted with a cochlear implant, hearing is restored, and the need for classroom accommodations disappears.  This belief may be due to a misunderstanding of the difference between hearing aids and cochlear implants.  Hearing aids, which attach to the outer ear, amplify sounds.  Cochlear implants, which are surgically implanted under the skin behind the ear, bypass damaged parts of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders explains how a cochlear implant works:

  1. A microphone picks up sound from the environment.
  2. A speech processor arranges sounds gathered from the microphone.
  3. A transmitter and a receiver/stimulator convert signals from the speech processor into electric impulses.
  4. An electrode relays these electric impulses to the auditory nerve.
Communication

Communication

From there, the impulses travel to the brain, which recognizes them as sound.  This new hearing, however, is different from biologic hearing and takes time to learn.  As the regulatory agency of medical products and procedures, the Food and Drug Administration reminds educators that students need time to adjust to their cochlear implants, and they do so at different rates.  On its website, the FDA states, “During the accommodation period, students need language input from all the sources they used before their implants.”  These may include sign language interpreters, note-takers, or speech-to-text services such as CART.

It is not necessary for the CART provider to be in the classroom with the student.  In this scenario, the classroom instructor wears a wireless microphone during the lecture, and the student’s laptop is connected to the microphone base station.  The student and the CART provider connect via SKYPE, and the highly skilled provider uses a stenomachine as well as special software to convert the instructor’s speech to text. This text is then streamed to an Internet browser-based application, giving the student instant access to the lecture content on his or her laptop.

And students are not the only users of cochlear implants who may benefit from CART services.  CART is frequently used in business meetings, religious services, and medical evaluations by people using cochlear implants.

If you are a student who uses a cochlear implant and are interested in CART accommodation in the classroom, have your college’s disability services office contact CompuScripts Captioning.  If you are a representative of a college disabilities services office and are in need of a CART provider for a student using a cochlear implant, contact CompuScripts Captioning’s president, Deborah Dusseljee, at ddusseljee@compuscripts.com, or call 1.888.849.9698.