Real feedback from real students
We as TypeWell transcribers try to improve our skills every day, but whether working on-site or remotely, we usually don’t get much feedback from the real end-users of the TypeWell system: the students who utilize our services for communication access.
Having a transcriber allows me to get the best education for my money.
So, I reached out to a sampling of college students who use TypeWell in their classes. These students received permission from their service coordinators to answer these questions for publication, but their identities remain confidential.
What do you like or dislike about having a transcriber in your classes?
C.B. told us, "Having a written transcript makes it easier to study because the lectures are all in print." She added, "What I dislike is that everyone in the class is anxious to get copies of my notes, which is more of an annoyance than a dislike."
To the same question, M.T. said that having a real-time transcript makes the class much easier to understand. She loves feeling like she is included in everything along with the hearing community. Our third respondent was C.E. who answered by saying he likes the relationship he has developed with the TypeWell transcribers.
What, if anything, do you wish your transcribers would do differently?
All three respondents wished for greater clarity in the transcriptions. C.E. put it this way: "Sometimes the meaning-for-meaning translation seems off. When I see my own words transcribed, I think, 'Hmmm, that’s not exactly what I meant.'"
All respondents wished for greater clarity in the transcriptions.
C.B. put it this way: "I wish that transcribers could write the lectures more verbatim, as well as have the ability to pick up conversations within groups, or questions the other students ask."
M.T. answered that he too wanted more precision in the transcriptions, and added that he didn't like long lag times. (Sometimes these can be due to transcribers using lag time to process spoken information before they type it, and sometimes it may be due to computer or Internet latency.) He also said he disliked spelling errors, especially when the transcriber didn't take the time to go back and fix them.
How has TypeWell impacted your life?
"Having transcribers has definitely made it easier by filling in the blanks for things I missed in class," said C.B.
"I feel the money I pay for tuition has gone to good use," added M.T. "What is the use of the education if I cannot understand every single word the professor says? Having a TypeWell transcriber allows me to get the best education for my money."
C.E. wrote, "TypeWell has definitely allowed me to go to school to understand, to do group work better, and to operate in teams with stronger confidence."
How do you utilize the notes, both during class or after class?
"I use the transcript to supplement my own notes. It’s extremely helpful when a professor is talking fast and I can’t type fast enough to catch up," said C.B.
M.T. wrote that she used the notes to review before a final exam. She added that during class, she is grateful just be able to follow along with the lesson.
The third respondent, C.E., was a little less enthusiastic because he had been used to CART, a word-for-word service. "Our school only offers TypeWell, but I have learned to like it generally."
How did you learn about TypeWell?
Not surprisingly, all three respondents first learned about TypeWell through their schools’ offices of disability support services. Some schools offer and hard-of-hearing deaf students a choice between CART and TypeWell; some do not. Of those that do offer both types of speech-to-text services, the decision may be based on cost or the complexity of the subject matter.
What conclusions did we reach from this admittedly unscientific poll? What came through most clearly is the need for greater accuracy in our transcriptions. Sometimes we are limited by the clarity of the spoken words or the quality of the audio signal from a remote location. But even for those working on location, the lesson is that we should lose as little as possible when capturing spoken words in a written transcript.
The feedback from these students also demonstrates that our work as transcribers is important, and it makes a difference. As one student said to me after a class, "Hey, if it weren't for you, I would not be graduating."