Mohawk students making for a better viewing experience

News Feb 19, 2019 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

People with visual or hearing difficulties should have better access to videos and other online services thanks to a collaboration between Mohawk College and Inclusive Media and Design of Toronto.

The two are sharing a $163,000 grant from the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund to upgrade and bring back CapScribe, a 20-year-old technology that had been helping creators and consumers to make captioning, non-speech sounds and description for videos but is no longer available.

“It’s the textual content of what is being said on the screen,” said Tracy Kadish, associate dean of business and media graduate studies at Mohawk College.

The work began last month and includes two Mohawk co-op students, a graduate student from the college’s accessible media production program along with program co-ordinator Jennifer Jahnke.

“Our hope is that it not only meets the needs of captioning and describing for individuals who are low vision or blind, but that it also meets the needs of users who use assistive technology, so they can do this work as well,” Jahnke said.

Mohawk students who use assisted software will help test CapScribe 2.0. Once completed the new software will be made available for free to all college and university students and faculty in the country.

“The goal of this software is that we make it accessible for all post-secondary institutions,” Jahnke said.

She noted the technology will enable faculty to add captioning and described video to any in-class presentations and allow post-secondary institutions to make their websites more accessible to people with hearing and visual challenges.

The upgraded software will also it will be available to business for purchase.

Rob Harvie, director of inclusive media and design and a Mohawk McKeil School of Business faculty member, said CapScribe was originally designed by Charles Silverman, who was born with severe hearing loss, at the University of Toronto (with the help of a few others) for academic purposes on a Macintosh platform.

The software has not been available for several years.

Harvie said their challenge is to upgrade the system so it can be used on all computer systems and digital platforms and make it available to people with a wide range of physical challenges.

“We want to make the tool usable by people who cannot see a computer display,” he said.

Harvie said they hope to begin coding work in March and come up with a prototype system over the summer.

“Students across Canada will be able to ensure they graduate with tools and knowledge for including everyone with the accessible content they create,” he said. “CapScribe 2.0 will also allow consumers of captioning and description — an inserted narrative to benefit those who can't see the visuals — to be involved in the process themselves.”

Harvie noted the World Wide Web Consortium (the international body that develops web standards) has issued web content accessibility guidelines calling for a higher standard of online accessibility starting in 2021, although live event captioning and described video have been exempted.

In addition, according to the 2005 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, all provincial government departments and the Legislative Assembly must provide video captioning and audio description services for people with hearing and visual challenges.

Provincial spokesperson Aleks Dhefto said the business community is exempt from providing live captioning and audio description on their websites.

But he also noted there are 2.6 million people in Ontario with disabilities and many of them would benefit from improved online accessibility.


Mohawk College students making for a better viewing experience

College gets $163,000 for accessibility project

News Feb 19, 2019 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

People with visual or hearing difficulties should have better access to videos and other online services thanks to a collaboration between Mohawk College and Inclusive Media and Design of Toronto.

The two are sharing a $163,000 grant from the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund to upgrade and bring back CapScribe, a 20-year-old technology that had been helping creators and consumers to make captioning, non-speech sounds and description for videos but is no longer available.

“It’s the textual content of what is being said on the screen,” said Tracy Kadish, associate dean of business and media graduate studies at Mohawk College.

The work began last month and includes two Mohawk co-op students, a graduate student from the college’s accessible media production program along with program co-ordinator Jennifer Jahnke.

“The goal of this software is that we make it accessible for all post-secondary institutions.” Jennifer Jahnke

“Our hope is that it not only meets the needs of captioning and describing for individuals who are low vision or blind, but that it also meets the needs of users who use assistive technology, so they can do this work as well,” Jahnke said.

Mohawk students who use assisted software will help test CapScribe 2.0. Once completed the new software will be made available for free to all college and university students and faculty in the country.

“The goal of this software is that we make it accessible for all post-secondary institutions,” Jahnke said.

She noted the technology will enable faculty to add captioning and described video to any in-class presentations and allow post-secondary institutions to make their websites more accessible to people with hearing and visual challenges.

The upgraded software will also it will be available to business for purchase.

Rob Harvie, director of inclusive media and design and a Mohawk McKeil School of Business faculty member, said CapScribe was originally designed by Charles Silverman, who was born with severe hearing loss, at the University of Toronto (with the help of a few others) for academic purposes on a Macintosh platform.

The software has not been available for several years.

Harvie said their challenge is to upgrade the system so it can be used on all computer systems and digital platforms and make it available to people with a wide range of physical challenges.

“We want to make the tool usable by people who cannot see a computer display,” he said.

Harvie said they hope to begin coding work in March and come up with a prototype system over the summer.

“Students across Canada will be able to ensure they graduate with tools and knowledge for including everyone with the accessible content they create,” he said. “CapScribe 2.0 will also allow consumers of captioning and description — an inserted narrative to benefit those who can't see the visuals — to be involved in the process themselves.”

Harvie noted the World Wide Web Consortium (the international body that develops web standards) has issued web content accessibility guidelines calling for a higher standard of online accessibility starting in 2021, although live event captioning and described video have been exempted.

In addition, according to the 2005 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, all provincial government departments and the Legislative Assembly must provide video captioning and audio description services for people with hearing and visual challenges.

Provincial spokesperson Aleks Dhefto said the business community is exempt from providing live captioning and audio description on their websites.

But he also noted there are 2.6 million people in Ontario with disabilities and many of them would benefit from improved online accessibility.


Mohawk College students making for a better viewing experience

College gets $163,000 for accessibility project

News Feb 19, 2019 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

People with visual or hearing difficulties should have better access to videos and other online services thanks to a collaboration between Mohawk College and Inclusive Media and Design of Toronto.

The two are sharing a $163,000 grant from the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund to upgrade and bring back CapScribe, a 20-year-old technology that had been helping creators and consumers to make captioning, non-speech sounds and description for videos but is no longer available.

“It’s the textual content of what is being said on the screen,” said Tracy Kadish, associate dean of business and media graduate studies at Mohawk College.

The work began last month and includes two Mohawk co-op students, a graduate student from the college’s accessible media production program along with program co-ordinator Jennifer Jahnke.

“The goal of this software is that we make it accessible for all post-secondary institutions.” Jennifer Jahnke

“Our hope is that it not only meets the needs of captioning and describing for individuals who are low vision or blind, but that it also meets the needs of users who use assistive technology, so they can do this work as well,” Jahnke said.

Mohawk students who use assisted software will help test CapScribe 2.0. Once completed the new software will be made available for free to all college and university students and faculty in the country.

“The goal of this software is that we make it accessible for all post-secondary institutions,” Jahnke said.

She noted the technology will enable faculty to add captioning and described video to any in-class presentations and allow post-secondary institutions to make their websites more accessible to people with hearing and visual challenges.

The upgraded software will also it will be available to business for purchase.

Rob Harvie, director of inclusive media and design and a Mohawk McKeil School of Business faculty member, said CapScribe was originally designed by Charles Silverman, who was born with severe hearing loss, at the University of Toronto (with the help of a few others) for academic purposes on a Macintosh platform.

The software has not been available for several years.

Harvie said their challenge is to upgrade the system so it can be used on all computer systems and digital platforms and make it available to people with a wide range of physical challenges.

“We want to make the tool usable by people who cannot see a computer display,” he said.

Harvie said they hope to begin coding work in March and come up with a prototype system over the summer.

“Students across Canada will be able to ensure they graduate with tools and knowledge for including everyone with the accessible content they create,” he said. “CapScribe 2.0 will also allow consumers of captioning and description — an inserted narrative to benefit those who can't see the visuals — to be involved in the process themselves.”

Harvie noted the World Wide Web Consortium (the international body that develops web standards) has issued web content accessibility guidelines calling for a higher standard of online accessibility starting in 2021, although live event captioning and described video have been exempted.

In addition, according to the 2005 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, all provincial government departments and the Legislative Assembly must provide video captioning and audio description services for people with hearing and visual challenges.

Provincial spokesperson Aleks Dhefto said the business community is exempt from providing live captioning and audio description on their websites.

But he also noted there are 2.6 million people in Ontario with disabilities and many of them would benefit from improved online accessibility.