Deaf and hard of hearing students will get further support in the classroom thanks to an investment in the expansion and research of speech-to-text transcribing services.
The Province is providing $150,000 to Post-Secondary Communication Access Services at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) for delivery of the TypeWell Transcribing Project.
The TypeWell transcribing system provides students with an accurate, real-time text transcript of a lecture or seminar. The student and the transcriber are in the same classroom. The transcriber listens to the lecturer and types a condensed version of the spoken word into his/her laptop which appears in full text on the student's laptop. The student can also participate in the class by asking or answering questions through the transcriber, and receives an electronic copy of the lecture material.
TypeWell speech-to-text transcribing is increasingly in demand for students with hearing loss and there is a need to recruit, train and deploy transcribers to meet that demand.
Post-Secondary Communication Access Services (PCAS) will use the funding to support the expansion of transcribing services in post-secondary institutions in B.C. by recruiting, training and mentoring transcribers, and by co-ordinating equipment, software licences and technical support.
In addition, a remote TypeWell service research and implementation pilot project will be developed. Remote service delivery will respond to student needs in regions and situations where it is not possible to have a transcriber present in the classroom.
Post-Secondary Communication Access Services (PCAS) at BCIT co-ordinates the delivery of communication access services at post-secondary institutions across the province. PCAS provides information on current practices and research regarding communication access for students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. PCAS also provides support to deaf and hard of hearing students and their families related to transition to the post-secondary system.
The TypeWell Transcribing project is a joint effort and will include the participation of PCAS, the Ministry of Advanced Education, Assistive Technology British Columbia (ATBC) and public post-secondary institutions across the province.
There is a growing population of students graduating from high school and enrolling in post-secondary who are identifying as having a disability. This project, along with other initiatives the ministry is currently undertaking will ensure that these students will be able to access a barrier-free post-secondary education.
Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of Advanced Education -
"We want to ensure students with disabilities have full access to our quality post-secondary system, no matter where they live or what they want to study.
"The exciting work PCAS is doing on speech-to-text transcribing will help bring the joy and language of learning to more deaf and hard of hearing students, enriching their class time and building success in their academic programs and careers."
Richard T. Lee, MLA for Burnaby North -
"A disability should not be a barrier for a student to access post-secondary education. I'm really pleased to see this funding will help deaf and hard of hearing students learn new skills and develop careers."
Len Zigante, hard of hearing student enrolled in BCIT's database administration and design certification program -
"Typewell's service has made a tremendous difference to my educational well-being, enabling me to understand and concentrate on the instructor's lessons in class without fear of not comprehending what was said due to my hearing impairment, and allowing me to achieve the highest marks and GPA I've ever had in my life."
Shirley Coomber, co-ordinator, Post-Secondary Communication Assess Services, BCIT -
"Our research and experience with transcribing has convinced us of its effectiveness in providing students who are deaf and hard of hearing with equitable access to post-secondary education. The service allows them to participate fully in their classes, meet their educational goals, and realize their potential as contributing adults. The funding will enable us to expand transcribing services both in class and from a distance."
- There are two types of transcripts produced by speech-to-text systems: verbatim and meaning-for-meaning. TypeWell provides a meaning-for-meaning transcript. A meaning-for-meaning transcript condenses the language used while maintaining the full meaning intended by the speaker.
- The TypeWell basic skills transcribing course is typically completed in three months part-time, or one month at the approximate rate of four hours every day.
- In 2010-11, there were over 300 deaf or hard of hearing students enrolled in B.C. public post-secondary institutions.
- In 2010-11, more than 6,700 students enrolled in post-secondary education in B.C. identified as having a disability, an increase of more than 75 per cent since 1996-97.
For further information on Post-Secondary Communication Access Services (PCAS) and speech-to-text transcribing, visit: http://www.bcit.ca/pcas/
To find out about financial assistance for students with disabilities: http://www.aved.gov.bc.ca/studentaidbc/specialprograms/grants.htm
Manager of Communications
Ministry of Advanced Education