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To EDUCAUSE Listserv members and those addressing technology accessibility challenges in Higher Education: We recently learned of a white paper being distributed at this year’s EDUCAUSE Conference by Automatic Sync Technologies (AST), which specifically references George Mason University’s accessible media process. We are disappointed that AST chose to not contact us directly for clarification on how we actually operate our service before implying that we have chosen to move in the direction of a “...far more expensive, logistically complicated, and unreliable...” strategy. Let us be clear in that we have no quarrel with an individual and/or an institution disagreeing with our accessible media process. We do, however, have an issue with a vendor mischaracterizing our service with a dated reference and THEN specifically calling out our university in hopes of generating more business. AST provides an excellent service. What’s surprising is that we have actually outsourced some of our video content to them for captioning and transcription. Unfortunately, we feel that they have done some damage to that business relationship moving forward. With respect to managing our accessible media process, Mason chooses to use an all-of-the-above approach. While we do outsource some of our content to 3rd-party vendors like 3PlayMedia and AST, we employ graduate students to clean up transcriptions for the bulk of our requests. Additionally, those students update/maintain office websites, assist with accessibility testing, and support the accessible text process when necessary. No one model is perfect and we continue to evaluate the effectiveness of our service moving forward. We do not believe in one-size-fits-all solutions or strategies, as every higher education institution is different. There is room under the “tent” for all paths that create a more accessible higher education environment. We would hope that members would keep that in mind as they review AST’s white paper. Regards, Korey Singleton, ATI Manager Kara Zirkle, IT Accessibility Coordinator George Mason University Assistive Technology Initiative Office 703-993-4329 -------------- ********** Visit the EDUCAUSE Policy website at


Kara and Korey, We insist on "NO" PR/marketing clause. In the rare-one in a million case there is understanding with vendor for using customer name, we modify the clause for any PR/marketing to be pre-approved with written consent from authorized signer. Our Communications team pre-approves the text and usually requires VP level clearance. In light of your current situation, it may be practical to salvage the vendor relationship by amending the PR/marketing clause in the agreement. my 00.02 cents, Anna
I spoke with Kara this morning at the Accessing Higher Ground conference in Westminster, and will try to schedule a call with Korey next week. Hopefully we can get more updated information about the captioning process at George Mason, including the advantages and recent successes, and update the paper accordingly. We certainly didn't intend to cast the George Mason captioning program in a negative light. In fact, we feel the George Mason, along with Stanford and a few others, are among a small minority of organizations that have successfully implemented an all-of-the-above type of approach, bringing at least some of their captioning in-house. We are definitely impressed with their initiative and the thought and resources that have gone into developing their program. The majority of campus IT executives that I talk with do feel that they need outside help when it comes to closed captioning. Use of video in education has proliferated, and most campuses do not have the resources to keep up with the demand. I hope that helps clarify things for the many people who have already downloaded and received the whitepaper. We are constantly updating our research, documentation, and other resources for campus accessibility groups, and will provide more information as soon as it becomes available. Art Morgan Automatic Sync Technologies 1-877-AST-SYNC direct: 1-877-278-7962 ext. 717 mobile: +1-650-868-8282