Oregon State University


In a Nutshell

Oregon State University was using a small team of human transcribers to meet the needs of its students who required transcripts and note taking assistance in order to meet ADA requirements. When COVID-19 forced the campus to function entirely online, the need for transcripts and captions – both live and in post-production – drastically increased. The university’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Services partnered with Verbit to automate these services and provide more accessible materials to all students.

The Challenges

At the onset of COVID-19 when OSU migrated its courses and lectures online, the university saw an unexpected and increasing number of requests for transcribing and captioning. Despite already having a team of on-site transcribers, it simply wasn’t enough for the unprecedented demand for transcripts and post-production captioning that followed the move to online. The university simultaneously experienced an increase in the number of students who are hard of hearing and do not sign. Additionally, many university organizations and campus partners began conducting webinars and Zoom meetings that required captioning.


Need for live accessibility tools for Zoom courses


Higher demand for accommodation services that meet ADA guidelines


Need to decrease manual effort of transcription work


Need for guidance on effective captioning & transcription implementation

Barbara Forrest-Ball

Ed: K-12, NIC, Manager, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Services, Oregon State University

"Sometimes students who have traditionally used one type of communication access method and then they switch over to something else, and it's like, ‘Wow, I had no idea I was missing this much...I can follow along so much better, or I can participate more’...That's what I tend to see with transcribing and then by extension, live captioning."

The Solution


Expert Guidance
Weekly meetings with experts to assess and help with ongoing needs


Live Tools
Enabling students to continue learning remotely and live


Seamless integration
Smooth connection with Zoom to service video captioning and transcription needs quickly


The Results

Helping students with numerous needs

“[Aside from hard of hearing students], we tend to find that students with auditory processing disorder will be found eligible for captioning. There are a couple of students on the autism spectrum who have used captioning or transcribing. We just approved captioning for a student who has ADHD.”

A quick process

“We were able to come up with a contract. That process went really quickly. Then within that next week, I would say, I was meeting with [Verbit] and we were getting everything in place for live captioning.”

Smooth delivery of services

“[Verbit] had suggestions on how we could have delivery of services more smoothly on the student’s side and on the instructor’s side, so the instructors wouldn’t have to send an API token every time.”

Customization to meet student preferences

“The student has to be the one that takes the lead. The way that I have approached it with students is, this option is open to you. If you’re comfortable with X, then let’s go with that, but just know that at any point, you can switch over to Y if you want.”

Accessible on-demand video

“Post-production captioning is really important. We had some instructors who posted their lectures online, so it was available to students afterwards.”

“It was interesting because after spring term, I was thinking, ‘I wonder if these students are going to request transcribing again,’ and sure enough they did…. This is working for them and it’s something that they are relying on to get all the information.”
– Barbara Forrest-Ball, Manager, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access Services, Oregon State University