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NADP VC2020 Week 7 Video 1 TranscriptionGuidelines for Working with Deaf StudentsMartin McLean, National Deaf Children’s SocietyWednesday 5th August 2020Hello. My name is Martin McLean and I work for the NDCS where I lead on post-14 policy and practice.We are a children’s charity but we support young people up to the age of 25. That is young people with all levels of deafness from mild to profound. Our vision is of a world without barriers to deaf children and young people. Deafness, in itself, is not a barrier to higher education. Thousands of deaf people complete higher education every year. I have an undergraduate degree and 2 post-grad qualifications. I don’t think I would have achieved these without adjustments being made by the universities and colleges that I attended and communication support being put in place through Disabled Students Allowance.Right now is a very challenging time for many of us as we adjust to the new world we find ourselves in. Many higher education providers have been gradually been providing more and more learning resources online over the last few years so were able to respond quickly to the lockdown by providing remote learning opportunities. However, for many deaf students, having to access a lecture or seminar online presents new issues. Lipreading?Have you ever tried lipreading someone off a computer screen particularly if the picture is a bit fuzzy or jerky? I can tell you it’s difficult! Often lectures are captured where you only see the slides so there is no-one to lipread anyway. Subtitles are often non-existent. I recognise that is not always that straight-forward to add subtitles but technology is making this much easier than it used to be. Ok, so now we are talking about automated subtitles using speech-recognition technology. Remember this is not yet some magic solution – automated captions are far from 100% accurate. It can be hard work for a deaf student to filter out the errors and the is a real risk of misunderstanding important concepts being relayed by a lecturer – even a small grammatical error can result in reading a sentence in a completely different way. Some universities are trialling automated captioning at the moment. The key thing is that the subtitles are edited. Any automated captioning platform should enable subtitles to be edited easily after they have been created using the voice-recognition tech. If the errors are not edited out, you haven’t really got an accessible lecture. If good quality subtitles cannot be made available then you may need to be discussing with a deaf student putting in place a speech to text reporter or electronic notetaker for lectures. Over half of deaf students do not claim Disabled Students Allowances to cover the cost of this support and not necessarily because they feel they don’t need it. It is these students we are particularly concerned about at the moment. Late applications for DSAs are permitted and it is probably reasonable for HE providers to cover cost of communication support whilst an application is going through.BSL accessWhat about if you use Sign Language? Many BSL interpreters have been able to provide interpretation of lectures and seminars remotely. However, there can be issues in accessing live seminars and discussions if the picture quality is not good enough. If using a video platform like Zoom or Microsoft Teams you need to be able to pin the interpreter easily so that they can visible on the screen the whole time.It is good to be aware that concentrating on a BSL interpreter for some time and trying to read slides and messages within the chat function can be very tiring. A lot of visual info to be processed. Breaks are important.UCL have come up with some very useful guidance on remote working with sign language interpreters which can be downloaded from this link: ucl.ac.uk/dcal/remote-working-guidelines Audio qualitySome, not all but some deaf students will appreciate good quality audio input when accessing a seminar or lecture. If there is lots of background noise or rustling you are making it much harder for a deaf student to listen. TutorialsFor tutorials, flexibility is important. Deaf students have different needs to each other. Can you use a video call rather than a phone call? If a video call is difficult for a student then what about chatting using text? If you use automated captions for example on Skype or Google remember to open them up yourself so that you can see if there are any glaring errors in the captions.Online exams and assessmentsOral assessments must be discussed with the deaf student to find the best arrangement to ensure they have full access.With written exams, the normal access arrangements that a deaf student would have such as extra time, modified language or BSL interpretation must be reflected within the alternative arrangements.And finally…With most providers taking a blended learning approach in the 2020-21 academic year, It is important that higher education providers are taking steps to address issues that arise from this. Remember no one deaf student is the same – access needs will vary from student to student and good communication with the student about what works for them and finding time to review how things are going is important.The guidance in this video can be found in written form here: .uk/blog/remote-learning-in-higher-education-for-deaf-students/ For further advice, deaf students and higher education staff are able contact our helpline in a variety of different ways. Visit .uk/helpline ................
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