In an effort to ensure that NIU’s learning environment is inclusive and accessible to all students, Amylin Hendrix-Ziegelbauer joins the Huskie team as a closed-caption editor to serve students who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as anyone who may benefit from closed-captioning services.
“I’m looking forward to working in a position that allows me to simultaneously work creatively and work for anyone who needs that little extra help to succeed,” Hendrix-Ziegelbauer said. “I’m hoping to provide multiple benefits to the faculty and students at large.”
Captions are on-screen text descriptions that display the dialogue, identify speakers and describe other relevant sounds that would not be accessible for people who are deaf or hearing impaired. The text is synchronized with the video so that all viewers have comparable access to the message regardless of whether they can hear it or not.
“With this position we will be better equipped to assist our campus partners and the entire campus community with the growing need to caption both academic videos and general media content at the university,” Carrie Aldrich, Disability Resource Center interpreting services coordinator, said.
Debra Miller, director, Disability Resource Center, shared the sentiment.
“The caption editor position will provide a more efficient and timely service for the university,” Miller said. “It will give greater access to students who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as students who have learning disabilities and may benefit from closed captioning.”
Creating the position is a result of support from campus partners who identified a need for the services of an in-house closed caption editor. The partners include Faculty Development and Instructional Design; Creative Services, e-Learning and information technology through the NIU Accessibility Officer (with the Disability Resource Center).
After more than two years of planning, Aldrich said the addition of Hendrix-Ziegelbauer’s position is another example of how NIU is “changing the accessibility landscape.”
“It’s an avenue for faculty and staff to create more universally designed course content,” Aldrich said. “It also provides accessibility and the option for students to process information in a mode that is best suited to their individual learning needs.”
Hendrix- Ziegelbauer’s first priority will be to assist students who are registered with the Disability Resource Center, followed by working on urgent and timely projects that are needed by campus partners. Going forward, the plan is to have captioning services available to any faculty member who has materials that need captioning for their classes.
In the past, departments were billed for these requests, but with the hiring of a dedicated closed caption editor, that’s no longer the case.
“We are happy to facilitate that adaptation of material and we won’t have to bill them for it,” Miller said. “It will definitely ease that (financial) burden for those faculty members and their department’s individual budgets.”
For more information and to learn about the services available, visit the Disability Resource Center.