Hi everyone and welcome to Verbit's LinkedIn Live

today in our Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

We are captioning today's discussion,

so please feel free to watch with

the captions if you'd like to use them.

My name is Danielle Chazen and I'm responsible

for content and thought leadership here at Verbit.

I'm very excited to be hosting you

today as well as our two amazing speakers.

I'm a woman with brown hair and brown eyes.

I'm wearing a black shirt with purple flowers on it.

My background is white, purple,

and aqua, and it reads Verbit down the side.

There's some imagery on it which are

graphic lines representing caption text and

sound waves and I wanted

to introduce quickly today's two leaders.

They are two absolute experts

in the realm of accessibility.

We have Sherri Restauri

who is from the education sector,

and Heather York who is from the media,

entertainment, and business sector.

I'd love them to each introduce themselves,

so Sherri would you like to go first?

Yes. Thank you Danielle.

Hi everyone. Thank you so much for joining us.

I'm so pleased to be with you today to get to chat

a little bit about Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

I'm a blond woman wearing a white blouse and also a

pink sweater and also a headset with a microphone.

Like Danielle, I have a background

with imagery showcasing captioning

and it shows AST which stands for

Automatic Sync Technologies along the side.

I come to you today after spending 20 years in

higher education advocating for

digital accessibility and digital learning.

I've only recently joined

our Verbit AST team three months ago,

and it has been an amazing experience.

I'm so excited to get to share with you

today along with my colleague Heather

some of our thoughts and suggestions about how you

can also celebrate with us

the Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Heather.

Thanks Sherri. I am Heather York.

I'm a middle-aged woman with light brown hair wearing

a royal blue shirt under a black sweater,

and in-ear headphones.

My background is similar to Sherri and

Danielle's except that it's blue and red.

It has the same lines representing captions and

audio quality and reads VITAC on the side.

VITAC stands for Vital Access.

I've been in accessible media for over 25 years

specifically in the media and entertainment space,

but also with corporations and educational institutions.

I've worked with amazing organizations to help push

forward legislation to ensure access to all,

including the Twenty-First Century

Communications and Video Accessibility Act or

CVAA which is why most Internet

programming is captioned today.

I've also worked on captioning

quality issues and audio accessibility.

I'm super excited about

the Global Accessibility Awareness Day

and happy to participate in this call today.

I'd like to start out today just asking what does

Global Accessibility Awareness Day mean to each of you?

Sherri, would you like to go first?

Sure, absolutely.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day; GAAD,

is just one of

many opportunities for us across the world to get

together and celebrate all of

our hard work around the space of access and inclusion.

For me, accessibility is

just one component under

a much broader picture of access and inclusion.

I've spent again two decades

now working and advocating within the

higher education's space specifically starting

in the field of distance learning.

Distance learning 25 years ago

was actually started in order to

increase access to education for

people who couldn't physically make it to the campus.

Knowing that and working both in my role

as an administrator and instructional designer and

then later as a faculty member for

these last several years really helps me to increase

the focus on digital access

and inclusion all the way from

the development stage of

courses to the build-out of multimedia,

to faculty development programs and workshops,

and now in my role with Verbit AST

to be able to work directly with all of

our various clients and customers across

the higher education space to help

them to better support their faculty,

staff, and students in their organizations.

It's been a wonderful opportunity over the years with

GAAD to focus in

on what are our strengths and how can we improve?

I'm really excited to be able to do that from

the Verbit AST side of the sector this time.

Great. Heather, do you have thoughts there?

I sure do. Accessibility just in general

to me is all about equal opportunity without questions,

and you should have equal access

in my role to television,

Internet programming without having to ask.

Nobody should be a special case,

it should just be assumed that you will

always have access to this programming.

What I like about GAAD is that it

invites users to experience and

understand for themselves

the many elements of digital accessibility.

I think it goes beyond captioning and description to talk

about things like color contrast

and navigation on your screen,

and then ask users to

do that themselves to figure out what

this world would be like if

they were in another person's shoes.

Watch TV without the sound on

and watch TV without the video on,

try to navigate your web screen with a screen reader

on and your screen [inaudible] on.

Try navigating your computer with

one arm without using your mouse.

All these are great ideas that GAAD pushes through

their site as companies to ask their employees to do,

and it's a real immersive experience to put

you in a user's shoes and understand what it's like.

Then the next step of course is to

actually try to change the world.

You make the world more universal,

make accessibility more universal.

I think GAAD asked people to just try to catch in

a video or just transcribe

a video to see what that's like.

It's not that hard,

it's not rocket science.

It's something people can do and that's what GAAD

is really talking about

and what today is really all about.

Absolutely. You both got into this a little bit,

but I'd love for you to each share a little bit about

the work that you're doing day in,

day out to really help drive accessibility forward.

I'll be happy to take that first, Danielle

I think one of the things that

has been most exciting to be

participating in as an individual

before I joined our company and even now

in working directly with our clients is

watching the growth of the campus to

expand beyond simple accessibility for

clients reasons and moving

towards a fully inclusive model.

Heather actually began talking about this a moment

ago when she talked about having a universal approach.

In education we call this a proactive approach.

We're looking at how can we do everything

to make accessibility the forefront

of the design of our courses,

at the administration of our courses,

from things like building

out a multimedia to make sure that it's

accessible to all users to making sure that

the assessment methodologies that we

use are also in place.

At my most recent campus,

we built out a Digital Accessibility Initiative

in which all multimedia across all sectors

including our media sectors were always

going to be captioned and available to everyone.

What we started to find in that particular space was

that it wasn't users that we

had expected to benefit from it, in fact,

it was quite a diverse group of users who

found the benefits through things like us

doing color contrast checks like Heather mentioned and

making sure that all of our content is

fully accessible for all users.

I have had such great pleasure with working with some of

our recent clients that I have been collaborating with.

We've got a couple of really exciting things coming

up in fact for Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

One of my clients at Chico State under the CSU system is

working really hard for

an upcoming event that will happen as well this week,

and it's focused on diversity,

equity, and inclusion.

There's many clients that I could point out that we

have under the umbrella of

the Verbit AST and education sector,

but so many of them are working really hard,

focused on inclusion of all people and not just in us.

Education has really focused on equitable access

to the teaching and learning space across the board.

That really does encompass the faculty,

the staff, the students,

and everybody who are constituents

in communities that we serve as well.

That's probably one of the areas I'm most proud of,

is working with not only my clients now

but historically my work in distance learning.

I've really enjoyed being able to make sure to push

the envelope forward so that

everybody had universal access to education.

Great, and Heather.

Sure. I'm in the media space,

but it's very similar to education.

Like Sherri, I work with leaders

and the leaders of the industry.

I work with users of the accessible media,

and I work with the people who

actually consider writing the rules and what

might be important to consider

inaccessible and accessible media

in my realm but accessibility for all essentially.

It's important that I stay involved in these areas,

it's important that everyone stay involved.

I don't realize until

I'm talking to somebody on the street or

somebody in a restaurant that

people don't know as much as we do.

People don't know that humans

create captioning half the time.

People don't know that audio description is

available for the blind on television.

When you start talking about it,

they're usually pretty impressed by it.

It's important for me to

get out there in all of these groups,

get out of my element and talk about it.

In the past couple of months I

did a webinar with

Entertainment Globalization Association,

and I talked about exciting trends in

audio description which until probably two years ago

was something that was only provided on

pre-recorded content like half-hour drama and sitcoms.

Now it's live. The Olympics were

completely described live by somebody

watching what was happening and describing on

second audio track on

TV so that people could participate.

My company specifically did scription for the Oscars,

and the Grammys, and the SAG Awards.

As most people know [inaudible]

was a huge winner this year,

and it obviously had deaf actors in it.

There was an awards moment where they were

sign language captions and

audio description at the same time.

It was really inspiring and I think we're going to

see more and more of that in the future.

Just when I started to think, we've done all we can

in the media space, more things happen.

I did want to mention that the Oscars and the

Grammys also had sign language interpreters,

not only on site but one

of them had a separate feed on YouTube with

an ASL interpreter on it which is

another thing that we hadn't even approached it.

I think there's a lot more to come

and I want people to really know about it.

Thank you so much Heather.

I think there are these common challenges that we

are seeing pop up that probably span industries.

I was wondering if in your respective realms you could

maybe each share one barrier that you think

is maybe preventing people from

doing more as well as maybe one positive

change to really help inspire people

today to make their environments more accessible.

Maybe share if you want to take that one first.

Sure, I'd be happy to.

I think probably one of

the most challenging barriers that we've had in

education sector is not actually what we would expect.

We might think that it would be how I can't figure out

which tool may actually meet my needs rather,

there is a proliferation of

different types of tools out there.

It's a challenge for faculty, staff,

and students as well as

administration to know what the best tools

are that can actually provide the highest quality,

the best services,

and meet all the needs for various types of students.

There are many types of technologies that have been

around for 25, 30 years even.

One of the things that brings me the greatest joy,

even though you're asked the question as a barrier,

is helping the clients to be able

to specifically figure out how these tools

that they've already adopted in a very small use case can

actually be globally used for everyone on campus.

I think the barrier is a lack of understanding

about how these types of services truly serve all.

It's not a lack of the technology being available.

As Heather mentioned, it's amazing the

developments that are coming out with technology,

the technology continues to improve.

Interestingly though, from

a pedagogy standpoint, there's been 20,

25 years of research that has backed us in

the education sector saying

that close captioning helps everyone.

It helps students who are first-generation.

It helps students who come

from lower socioeconomic status.

It helps students who have

difficulty learning for various types of

reasons that may or may not have a disclosed disability.

Because we have all of that research backing,

sometimes it's difficult in the education sector to know

what is reliable and what is not. That's a barrier.

How do I weigh through all of that and how do I know

specifically what is out there?

Then I think the other part of your question was,

what is a positive change, is that correct?

The positive change I think is a two-part for my answer,

it's now that we've started to be

able to provide research.

A good example is

a research study that we talked

about in education a lot in

which we found that being able to use

closed captions improve students' learning outcomes,

improves their retention,

and what's most important to me as

a faculty member and improves their enjoyment,

and they're feeling of community and

belongingness because they feel like

they're being included in

the educational environment just

through the implementation of our technologies.

If we know that that research is out there

like the technologies provided by our company

can actually play a role in that.

Then I think the positive change is helping to

connect the appropriate colleagues from our campuses

and from the different entities to this research to

help them to understand

that it's not just from one or two people,

it's for everyone,

and these are the many benefits that we can see.

I'm very excited to watch the technology change.

But as a researcher myself,

it's been amazing to see that those learning outcomes

providing things as simplistic as time sync,

closed captions can have

such a significant impact

on all of our learners across all the different spaces.

I'm excited to continue to work in

the education sector and to work on some of

this research with all the different groups

that we have collaborating with us in

the education sector and continue to

see the impact that it has on

the student learning outcomes.

Thank you, Sherri. Heather.

I was going to say it's funny both of

our barriers are about around misperceptions,

and then misperception that again,

only one person can benefit from captioning.

Luckily, I've been in a world where

our captions are going to millions of people.

But I know that that's still

an issue within corporations,

within education, within everything.

The biggest one I see is

the continued misperception that adding captions,

or audio description, or adding accessibility,

in general, is going to take a lot of time and energy.

People often think in today's age,

you create a video, you spit it out, it's got to go.

You can add captions to that video really quickly.

I set up a Zoom webinar last week,

it was a four-hour webinar,

but I did it with two hours notice.

I don't recommend anybody do this.

Our captioner probably hated me.

She did not have any time to

prepare for what I would say,

but it does not take a lot of time to get

something captioned or set up to caption.

We come from the live news world

where there's breaking news.

You don't want to wait, the weatherman

doesn't want to have to stop and call

somebody and figure out who's going to caption

their breaking news so they can tell

somebody how to evacuate properly.

Captioning, we've done it forever.

This quick breaking news approach, the captioning,

and it's not hard to

integrate into more than just television.

It's not hard to do on

corporate events like my four-hour webinar,

it's not hard to do for education.

It doesn't take a lot of time,

it takes a little bit of setup,

and once you're good to go, you're good to go.

Especially now in the Internet world

where we're just streaming captions,

there's not a lot of technology involved with that.

That was my barrier. The positive

is just the sheer amount

of adoption we're seeing

in closed captioning and audio description,

and again, accessibility in general.

There aren't there FCC rules that

require television to be captioned.

There were lawsuits filed by

the National Association of the Deaf against Netflix

to set a standard that streaming content be captioned.

But what I'm seeing is like excessive amount.

That's not a question. Live streaming

programming online is being captioned.

Your Disney Channel has captions in something like

14 languages for captions

and subtitles and audio description.

It's just a world of inclusion, a worldwide inclusion.

Those subtitles might be created and

dubbing might be created to reach a broader audience.

But guess who benefited and guess who started it all,

the people who were captioning first,

just for people who needed it.

I think that's a big positive

and it's only going to expand.

Absolutely. Thank you.

We are in this day of wanting to

really inspire people in honor of GAAD.

I was hoping to close this out with

maybe just one piece of advice that you could give

for organizations to really dip

their toe in the water to get

started and to really turn awareness into action.

Whoever would like to take that one first,

but something just inspirational

to leave people with today.

I'll be happy to take that first, Danielle.

I think one of the things that is probably

my biggest advice and

this isn't just about accessibility,

this is probably good advice in

education across the board.

It's always great to look at

what resources are already

available for you rather than starting from scratch.

I have referenced earlier

some of the research that was available.

There are tremendous amounts of

literature available in the education sector

that help campuses that are struggling to

make the use case to administration,

that help us to actually make

that use case through documented research that

showed that this doesn't benefit

one or two or a handful of individuals,

but it has a significant impact immediately.

Starting off with looking at some of those use cases,

the case study is the implementations

that have already taken place.

That's a great opportunity.

One of the things that I felt like helped

my most recent campus that I served on the

most was we built

out accessibility standards and

education space followed,

what we called the WCAG guidelines.

For the WCAG guidelines we

built out templates and we made all of

those templates readily available to our faculty staff

who were building out content for educational purposes.

Giving faculty a little help by

starting with templates and giving the people who

are advocating for these types

of services a little bit of

additional help by looking at case studies

of best practices that have already taken place to me,

just getting our foot in the door and starting to work

a little bit harder by using

experiences that we have seen our colleagues

actually work well and have positive outcomes.

I feel like that has been most helpful.

It's also what I did in my previous role.

I didn't start from scratch.

We had amazing outcomes.

We did so much amazing work and I'm so proud of

everything for our faculty

and our staff and our students.

However, I modeled it after

other campuses who had already done good work.

I would say that inspiration is,

look really great practices that

have already been made available such as case studies,

and take a look at those that seem to fit the culture

and the needs of your particular institution,

and just reach out to those.

We are an incredibly small community.

We all seem to be working for exactly the same goal.

You've heard Heather and I say similar things,

even though we're in different sectors,

we're all working for

the same goal of access and inclusion.

If you see another campus doing something amazing,

reach out to them and ask them what techniques they use,

and what for example,

is that their case studies and go ahead and use them as

a role model to go ahead and implement

those policies and those techniques

on your campus as well.

Thank you, Sherri.

My advice would be if

you haven't started your accessibility journey,

starts small, pick one thing and do it and

commit to it and go for it.

Most of what we've seen

in the corporate sector, for example,

is that one large company will

decide to caption their all-hands meeting.

You have your present president

speaking to all the employees.

That's a great opportunity just to roll out an event,

add captioning to it.

You'll realize that some of your employees are sitting in

cubes with the sound off and want to read the captions.

You'll have a transcript after the event that

says everything you said along with

the video so the employees

who couldn't enjoy it the first

time around can either read it or watch it with captions.

You'll find and then ask, interview your people.

People who have heavy accents might

find it easier to read caption than to [inaudible] them.

All the benefits we always talk about with

captions can start very

simply with one one-hour meeting with all staff.

We did this for one Fortune 500 company

about three years ago,

and now they're captioning all meetings

over a certain amount of attendees.

If there's more than 20 meetings in a call,

they have a human captioner present for

that call and it's been a benefit to all.

It doesn't matter if somebody needs it or not.

That's my advice for people who

haven't started anything yet.

I certainly echo Sherri's advice that there's

plenty of research out there

that you can use in case studies.

For people that are offering accessibility,

I would pay attention to quality,

what the FCC calls

the four elements of captioning accuracy.

That's accuracy, synchronicity,

meaning captions are timed correctly,

complete, they cover the whole video and they're

placed so that they don't

interfere with the onscreen graphics.

Once you start thinking

about getting the text on the screen,

take it a step further and think

about how accurate is that text,

how readable is it.

Is it complete? Is it

20 seconds behind what the viewer is saying?

Do I need to adjust something to make

things even more understandable

for those who rely on captions?

Those are just some tips I have for getting started.

I could go on for years, but I'll stop right there.

I'm happy to talk to anyone else who

has any questions though.

Thank you so much Heather and Sherri for

sharing these great tokens of information.

I know that our audience will

really benefit from them today.

I think it's amazing what you said about

really reconsidering how we're looking at

accessibility and technologies and

all of the greater populations that they serve,

whether it's students or the workplace.

It's been really wonderful to hear from

both of you and to honor this day of

Global Accessibility Awareness Day with each of

you from your different perspectives in media,

at VITAC, and then education at AST.

Just on behalf of Verbit,

were just very excited to be honoring

this moment and this day.

Thank you for your time.