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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Captioning service to assist hearing-impaired classmates

    As the UA transformation cuts programming, the Disability Resource Center is launching a new service that will provide captioning for all in-class media including videotapes, DVDs, Web media and podcasts.

    “”The truth is the university has an obligation to post things for all students,”” Disability Resource Center Associate Director Carol Funckes said. “”The amount of videos and media available has grown so much, yet the technology available to the students has not caught up yet.””

    Today will complete the first week of the new program.

    In a press release distributed Jan. 8, the DRC asked all UA instructors to only use media in their classroom that is either closed or open captioned. Open captioning is visible to all students while closed captioning is an option that instructors can enable upon request.

    If the instructor’s media is not captioned, the DRC said it is able to create captions.

    “”I had a student who is an agriculture major. He pulled up [the agriculture] website and the department head was speaking. There were no captions available for the student,”” Disability access consultant Barbara Borich said. “”We have also had complaints from students in Biology who use videotapes or stream videos on D2L that do not have captions.””

    The DRC believes one benefit to the captioning program is that students will soon be able to use a search engine to find media.

    Currently, media is not searchable, but with the implementation of the new program, all transcripts, key words, and titles will be easy for students to find.

    The DRC is also asking that all online media, from YouTube or elsewhere, have captions.

    Funckes said they are willing to provide the captioning services in order to make sure all hearing-impaired and deaf students on campus are able to have an equal learning opportunity.

    “”The Americans with Disabilities Act just requires accessibility to the materials,”” Funckes said. “”I know not everything can be captioned but we are trying to put U of A out in front.””

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