National Association for the Deaf sued Harvard and MIT
And the Deaf were Heard
In February of 2015, a legal earthquake hit American universities and colleges after Harvard and MIT were sued for lack of Closed Captions. Many schools were reported as starting to make an effort to deal with the captioning of video content. Schools who fail to provide online learning documents such as lectures, courses and podcasts with closed captions, make education inaccessible for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. But the legal requirements go beyond providing access for a small minority of hard of hearing and deaf students. Legally any public content needs to be captioned as well. So if your division or school provides video content that is publically available, that content should be captioned as well. In December of 2014, the Education Department resolved broad compliance reviews with the University of Cincinnati and Youngstown State University, with agreements that specifically included captioning as part of compliance with the disability laws.
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and a handful of individuals weren’t suing for money; instead they are looking to change the mindset and conduct of the universities.
They argued that Harvard and MIT discriminate against deaf and hard of hearing people by failing to caption the vast array of online content they make available to the general public, including massive open online courses (MOOCs). Much of Harvard’s online content is either not captioned or is inaccurately or unintelligibly captioned, making it inaccessible for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Here at East Carolina, most of the content associated with the university that is on YouTube has inaccurately captioned videos. However it is relatively simple to fix those videos by uploading an accurate transcript to replace the YouTube automatically generated captioning. First the best way to create a transcript is to listen to your entire YouTube video while typing into Word the text that is spoken (You have to save that file as a plain text file). Creating a new YouTube transcript is much less time consuming than correcting the automatically generated captions.