Purdue University Gets Started with Campus-Wide Captioning for Accessible Media and Web Content
Purdue University is comprised of its main campus in West Lafayette, Indiana, and four regional campuses across the state. The Assistive Technology Center (ATC) promotes an accessible information technology infrastructure at Purdue that is usable by all students, faculty, and staff regardless of disability status. Dean Brusnighan is the Assistive Technology Specialist at (ATC) who has been leading the way to implement strategies to achieve media accessibility within Purdue’s university community. Brusnighan first engaged Automatic Sync Technologies in 2009, using its CaptionSyncTM service for select video content.
“AST’s CaptionSync service streamlines the process of captioning our public-facing video, and gives us the assurance that it will be accessible.”
Assistive Technology Specialist Purdue University
In mid-2009, Brusnighan lead a one-year, campus-wide, proof-of-concept project for video and multimedia captioning across the broad categories of Administrative Video, Academic Video, and Intercollegiate Athletics. Key to the project was a comparison of the time and cost to correct YouTube automatic captions files using in-house services, to that of turn-key captioning vendor strategies.
The project had to help Purdue and ATC understand the potential solutions for captioning in different campus environments, including: captioning of classroom lectures, captioning of archive material, captioning at sporting events and large public events. The scope of the project had to take into account resources when collaborating with different areas on campus.
To implement the proof-of-concept, the team determined six criteria to identify vendors who would deliver qualify and contain costs. These were: cost below $200 per hour, imports and exports of a wide variety of digital media formats, supports online video submission and return, processes immediately, and provides a separate caption file. Of many interviews, AST met all the criteria among ten high-ranked vendors.
Purdue now has the best strategy for a campus-wide approach, and identified the right vendors, like AST, who keep ATC at the forefront of accessibility technology and efficiently serve the variety of campus needs. The resource options and campus environments reviewed by the ATC project varied widely. The focus on archived video and Web content showed Automatic Sync Technologies to be a consistently high quality, and cost effective vendor. Because they were a central vendor service, CaptionSync could easily scale its service to manage the campus variations in captioning needs, and deliver consistency across websites.
“When we started the proof-of-concept in mid- 2009, there was no process for captioning to make content accessible for faculty, staff , students and our public audience. To start, we had to rank and score vendors who could scale and deliver quality and contain costs. Out of 10 high- ranked caption vendors, only AST met all criteria for cost, format, fast turn, online submission and support.”
The Benefits & Future
To date, the proof-of-concept results, completed in mid- 2010, paved the way for Purdue to undertake the implementation of its campus wide captioning strategy. ATC has also met its secondary goal to share the knowledge about technical approaches in varying environments, and methods and resources to achieve success in a higher education setting. The Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP) family collaborates with academic technology forums to advance the innovative and evolving use of technology to facilitate learning. Purdue’s captioning project, envisioned in 2009 is progressing through the use of best technologies and high-quality, web-based services like AST’s CaptionSync.