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?
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.