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Videoconferencing Accessibility. Michelle Swaney Heidi Lefebure mswaney@utk.edu halefebure@ualr.edu ViDe Conference Indianapolis, IN March 24, 2004. Accessibility for People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. BEGINNINGS!.

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Videoconferencing Accessibility

Michelle Swaney Heidi Lefebure mswaney@utk.eduhalefebure@ualr.edu

ViDe Conference

Indianapolis, IN

March 24, 2004


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Accessibility forPeople Who areDeaf or Hard of Hearing


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BEGINNINGS!

  • 1999 - The Center on Deafness through the Postsecondary Education Consortium and it’s national organization the Postsecondary Education Programs Network – PEPNet (funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs) began exploring the use of technology to enhance classroom instruction, meeting accessibility, and the provision of outreach technical assistance.


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VC Issues and Barriers

  • VC is not currently 100% accessible to Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals. Why?

    • Network Connections – inadequate or nonexistent at certain sites

    • Captioning

    • Interpreter(s) (placement and # of)

    • Lack of technical expertise in the area of deafness at some sites (CURRENTLY)


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VC Challenges

  • Network connectivity to guarantee minimum of 384k rate

  • Chair control or video switching within the MCU

  • Placement of interpreter in a continuous presence multi-point conference

  • Rate of signing in correlation with VC system and network connections

  • Need for technical expertise

  • Room environment (lighting, set-up, audio)


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VC Successes

  • MCU, Gatekeeper, Room and desktop systems in place.

  • Successful conferences (point-to-point and multi-point)

  • Continuous learning process of the capabilities

  • PEPNet has made a commitment to continue onward to resolve access solutions in relation to captioning and interpreter placement in continuous presence. Work is ongoing with the Technology Evaluation group at The University of Tennessee.


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VC Uses for the Center on Deafness

  • PEPNet Directors & Coordinators (Postsecondary Education Programs Network – 4 Regional Centers)

  • Demand-Control Course – Practicum supervision

  • Sign Communication Proficiency Interviews within RSA Region IV

  • Meetings and trainings

  • Collaboration with vendors regarding communications access


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Accessibility forPeople Who areBlind or Have Low Vision


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VC Issues and Barriers

  • VC is not currently 100% accessible to individuals who are blind or have low vision. Why?

    • Software incompatibility (VC and Accessibility)

    • Most chat clients are inaccessible

    • Inadequate or nonexistent network connections

    • Captioning

    • Lack of technical expertise


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VC Challenges

  • Network connectivity to guarantee minimum of 384k rate

  • Resistance to change and a fear of the unknown

  • Need for technical expertise

  • Room environment (lighting, set-up, audio)



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Needed EnhancementofAccessibility Features


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Multi-point videoconference

5/22/03

*Highlighted box denotes speaker

  • 4 Site Connection

  • 4th site audio & video is muted for chair control

  • 2 sites connected on an OC12 pipe, I2 institution

  • 1 site connected on a T1

  • 1 site connected on OC3 pipe


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Impact of Accessibility

  • Who gets the bigger piece of the pie?

    • Companies already getting into the business of video over IP within the Deaf Community

      • Sprint Relay http://www.sprintvrs.com

      • Sorenson VRS http://www.sorensonvrs.com

        Sorenson videophone http://www.sorenson.com

      • Communication Srvcs for the Deaf http://www.c-s-d.org

  • How big is the audience anyway?

    • Secondary, postsecondary, businesses, etc.