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COC Aims for Closed-Captioning of Classes

Campus receives grant for effort.

Posted: March 3, 2008 9:35 p.m.
Updated: May 3, 2008 5:01 a.m.
The College of the Canyons Distance Learning Department has secured more than $6,300 in live-caption grant funding from the California Community College Chancellor's Office Captioning of Live Distance Education Program.

The grant money will be used to fund the closed captioning of technology-based educational materials for nine different faculty projects in courses across a variety of disciplines, and will help ensure that online versions of these classes are fully accessible to all COC students.

Examples of such projects include the use of audio and video files and voice-over material during course lectures and power point presentations and the posting of course podcasts, streaming video and other materials online.

"Our main goal is to expand the educational opportunities available to all students. Another one of our major roles is to support faculty members in realizing these ideas as instructionally sound and effective teaching and learning tools," said James Glapa-Grossklag, COC's dean of distance learning programs and training. "This grant allows us to bring together support of faculty innovation while ensuring its accessibility of all students."

Courses in accounting, theater, geography, geology, chemistry and Spanish will be among the first to implement these new learning tools into the classroom, with recording of materials and subsequent captioning expected to be completed before the end of the fiscal year in June. Captioning will be available to all students for the first time during the college's summer session.

According to Glapa-Grossklag, some faculty members have also expressed interest in using the closed captioning capabilities to create classroom instructional videos which could be used repeatedly in multiple course sections and posted online, thus freeing up more time for student interaction.

"Oftentimes there are routine procedures in the lab or classroom which the instructor has to go over every semester," Glapa-Grossklag said. "But if you had a recording which the students could view at home or anytime before coming to class, think about the time that would be freed up to engage students in dialogue and experience a little bit more of the magical interaction between teachers and students."

The captioning program was implemented by the California Community College Chancellor's office to assist schools in improving their capacities to serve disabled populations by ensuring the accessibility of information and materials to all students through better direct access and universal designs.

Grant funds awarded by through the program allow institutions in the California Community College system to contract services from outside live-captioning vendors for the captioning of real-time distance education courses, live video streaming and Webcasts as well as DVDs, podcasts and other digital media utilized in distance education courses.

The piloting of courses in this new format also points in the future direction of technology enhanced classes at COC, as the college is currently exploring ways to produce digital versions of instructional course material - free of copyright constraints and publishing house ownership - which can be accessed as an Open Educational Resource at a reduced or no cost to the student.

"Obtaining this grant and providing access to new and innovative material is a reflection of what this college does so well, and that's providing more and more opportunities and options for students on a menu of educational delivery," Glapa-Grossklag said.


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