Providing accessible webinar recordings at UCEM: Guest blog by Dr Teeroumanee Nadan

Posted on: 2017-08-10

As a leading online education provider in the Built Environment sector, UCEM provides a range of online learning resources such as podcasts, videos, interactive e-learning materials, webinars and e-textbooks for students. We have been driving webinars as an online synchronous delivery method to improve interactivity and addressing accessibility issues around webinars. UCEM recently invested time and effort in analysing the accessibility of our learning materials. This blog highlights some of the work done in providing accessible webinars (particularly for students with hearing impairments).

Last year, UCEM approached Synote Ltd, a company based on the University of Southampton campus, to provide their transcription services for UCEM’s webinars to support two deaf students enrolled on our BSc and MSc courses. Since then, there has been a resourceful collaboration between Synote and UCEM.

Last year, webinar transcriptions were made available for three modules. Feedback was very positive with one student commenting, ‘I have used the transcription service for module X and it has helped me massively’.

This semester, support was put in place to cover webinar transcription for the same two students on three other modules. UCEM worked closely with Synote Ltd to create a plug-in version of the transcription, which led to webinar transcription becoming available for the entire student cohort on the ‘Economics of Property and Construction’ module.

This is part of a research project being led by myself, Stephen Forster and Dr Tharindu Liyanagunawardena – all from UCEM’s Online Education Department. Our abstract has been accepted for presentation at the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) Annual Conference 2017 which takes place from 5 to 7 September. The session, entitled ‘Captioning videos for accessibility: A case study of University College of Estate Management’ will be presented on 7 September at 13:00. This will be UCEM’s first ever presentation at the ALT Annual Conference.

ALT provides an international platform which brings together Learning Technology researchers, practitioners and policymakers from different sectors. The 2017 conference is based on the theme ‘Beyond islands of innovation – how Learning Technology became the new norm(al)’. UCEM was represented in the ALT Conference committee by the chair of the Online Learning Research Centre, Dr. Tharindu Liyanagunawardena.

UCEM’s case study will highlight the efforts made by the team to provide the much expected support and student experience in line with UCEM’s ‘No Student Left Behind’ policy. It will also be an opportunity to highlight the impact of institutional policies on students’ experience. Additionally, we will present the team’s ongoing work in providing tutor support and guidelines on how to maximise use of our Blackboard Collaborate webinar platform to fully benefit our students.

About Dr Teeroumanee Nadan

Teeroumanee is a Learning Technology Content Developer at the University College of Estate Management (UCEM), based in Reading, UK. She is the lead researcher on the ‘Webinar Transcription for Accessibility’ and ‘Open Badges for Student Engagement’ projects at UCEM. She is also the co-editor of the first Research Matters e-bulletin at UCEM and has previously studied and worked in different locations around the world.