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Captioning White Paper Evaluation
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 KSinglet@gmu.edu Kara Zirkle, IT Accessibility Coordinator KZirkle1@gmu.edu George Mason University Assistive Technology Initiative Office http://ati.gmu.edu 703-993-4329 -------------- ********** Visit the EDUCAUSE Policy website at http://www.educause.edu/policy.