Collaborative, multimedia solutions for improving educational access for deaf and hard of hearing students
Anna C. Cavender, University of Washington, United States
University of Washington . Awarded
High bandwidth connections, online social networks, and remote collaboration technologies are bringing people together to solve problems that were difficult or impossible to solve in the past. These technologies have great potential to better include deaf and hard of hearing students in mainstream academic settings.
Succeeding in mainstream universities (at all levels) involves extra challenges for deaf and hard of hearing students: skilled sign language interpreters and captioners with advanced domain knowledge are often difficult to find; multiple visual channels of information in the classroom can be difficult to juggle; and collaboration inside and outside the classroom is often strained due to language barriers. In addition, American Sign Language (ASL) often lacks standardized terminology for advanced, university-level content.
This dissertation explores technological solutions to better facilitate the inclusion and advancement of deaf and hard of hearing students in advanced STEM fields. We have designed, implemented, and evaluated two distinct, yet interconnected, technologies: (1) ClassInFocus: a classroom platform for students to access remote interpreters and captioners, avoid visual dispersion, and enable interaction in the classroom, and (2) ASL-STEM Forum an on-line, video forum to facilitate natural, conceptually correct, and community-approved language progression for STEM topics.
Better access to classroom activities and a consistent, conceptually clear signing system for STEM topics are both vitally needed in order for deaf and hard of hearing students to advance in the sciences. ClassInFocus and ASL-STEM Forum are enabling deaf and hard of hearing students better access to STEM fields by improving the learning environment and the linguistic access to STEM content. Not only does this increase the likelihood that deaf people will attain college and graduate degrees, but it will also increase the participation of deaf and hard of hearing people in the development and research of new technology.
Cavender, A.C. Collaborative, multimedia solutions for improving educational access for deaf and hard of hearing students. Ph.D. thesis, University of Washington.
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