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North Idaho College To Provide Accessible Lecture Recordings for Disabled Students

North Idaho College will be implementing a new classroom capture system as part of an effort to provide accessible education to students with disabilities. The college will be using SpeakerBox from ClearSky Systems for the lecture capture program beginning in January 2009.

The SpeakerBox system is designed to capture and distribute lectures without intervention from instructors. It automatically captures voice, along with everything displayed on the instructor's computer screen, such as Web pages and PowerPoint presentations. When a lecture is over, the materials are automatically uploaded to ClearSky's servers, at which point students can download and view the lectures using the free SpeakerBox Player.

At North Idaho College, students will access these lectures using a secure access code, according to Ryan Scott, assistive technology specialist for North Idaho College.

"Currently, we are using ClearSky to accommodate students with disabilities," Scott told us via e-mail. "The Center for Education Access believes that a system which provides auditory/visual content is beneficial to students and especially when students have the ability to bookmark important speaking points within the lecture."

Scott said lectures will also be made available to non-disabled students for a fee, and lectures will be available to students on their own computers and on designated computers on campus.

According to Grant Bookman, ClearSky CEO and co-founder, the system will run North Idaho College less than $1,000 per semester. (Fees are per-student and vary based on volume.) "This price includes the software as well as unlimited access to ClearSky's servers," he told us. Other campuses using the system include the University of San Francisco, the University of Tennessee, and the Seattle Community College System.

It isn't clear yet what percentage of classrooms at NIC will be equipped with SpeakerBox. "[H]owever," said Scott, "I do know that NIC has the capability of implementing the system in every classroom that has a computer and Internet service."

North Idaho College, in Coeur d'Alene, ID, serves about 3,400 FTEs and employs about 1,200 faculty and staff.

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