University Business October 2017 - 44

CAPTION ACTION
provides a huge accessibility boost-both
in the classroom and out across campus.
Real-time captioning in the classroom
While sign language interpreters help ensure deaf students understand what's being
shared in the classroom, hard-of-hearing
students need a different form of support.
Visual aids-such as notes taken during
class, transcripts and captioning services-
aid their learning.
Live captioning differs from closed
captioning in that the latter is transcribed
after an event and added over the top of a
recorded program.
The two main options are:
1. Live captioning, on-site. Widely adopted in the classroom, live captioning provides a way for students to pay attention to
the professor and glance at a laptop screen
to confirm their understanding of what was
said. Using a chat window, students can ask
the captionist questions for clarification.
Communication Access Realtime
Translation, commonly known as CART
(see "Quality control in captions," page
45), is the latest in live captioning. It provides exact, word-for-word transcription
on computer screens or mobile devices,

IN-CLASS ASSISTANCE-Even when live captioning is available to students taking
a course, additional accommodation options may still be helpful. At Morehead
State University and other institutions, for example, peer note-takers are available.

such as iPads or smartphones, for students and audience members.
On-site captionists sit in class alongside other students, typing exactly what
the professor and fellow students say.
Because a captionist in class can pick up
on questions asked by students, or other
surrounding discussions, it is often the

Cost-effective alternative:
Crowd-powered captioning
Like with crowdfunding, the future of live captioning may be powered by a group.
With professional captionists costing as much as $100 per hour, a lower-cost solution is in the works to allow groups of average typists to provide real-time captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Legion:Scribe (UBmag.me/scribe) is making that happen. The system-developed by a team of computer science professors from the University of Rochester,
Rochester Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon University-allows
multiple users to type pieces of what they hear onto a screen for captioning.
It then "stitches the partial captions back together automatically," according to
the team. Three to five people would generally work together to capture all the information being shared, at an accuracy level of nearly 85 percent of a professional
captionist's ability.
Each captionist connects via a webpage, where an audio stream offers indicators of when to begin typing. End users simply visit a page to see a live display of
captions.

44 | October 2017

preferred solution.
Clemson University is unique in
that it employs five captionists to serve
hearing-impaired students on its South
Carolina campus. The on-site captionists are assigned to classrooms and events,
supplemented with a remote captionist as
needed. However, since Wi-Fi service is
required for live captioning, universities
such as Clemson fall back on recording
events and later transcribing them when
a class meets somewhere that Wi-Fi is not
available-such as a barn, a farm or offsite locations.
2. Remote live captioning. When a captionist cannot can't be there in person,
many colleges rely on off-site captionists
who listen via a microphone placed near
the professor. They type what they hear
into a platform such as StreamText (www.
streamtext.net), which the student can
view on a laptop.
While speech recognition software
programs do exist, the software has not
advanced enough yet to meet the standards for accuracy, says Jamie Axelrod,
director of disability resources at Northern Arizona University. In other words, it
can't be used for captioning. Automated
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