Hello readers, welcome to my DREU Project blog! My name is Mike Tota, currently a senior at Gallaudet University majoring in Information Technology. I will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology this August. Growing up, I’ve always had a natural interest in computers, and often was the person my family depended on when they had technical issues with the devices, software, etc you name it. With this natural knowledge, I am passionate about continuing and expanding my knowledge and skillsets to contribute to the society, future company/agency, or organization.
About My Mentor
Raja Kushalnagar, who is deaf, is the co-lead investigator and scientific lead. He is an associate professor and Director of the Information Technology Program within the Department of Science, Technology and Mathematics at Gallaudet University. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Houston, and his J.D. at Texas Southern University. He has conducted numerous qualitative and quantitative accessibility studies, especially related to captioning. Dr. Kushalnagar also has extensive experience managing undergraduate research through directing a Research Experience for Undergraduates Site program on Accessible Multimodal Interfaces. He has served on the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee on matters related to disability access. Three of his students have gone on to PhD programs and received the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.
About My Project
Captioning for teleconferencing is essential for the 36 million Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing. Access to teleconference captions has a direct impact on participation in society, especially for those working or studying from home during the covid-19 pandemic era. We are in the middle of a disruptive transition to computer-generated captions that can be viewed anywhere, anytime, including through teleconferencing These new technologies create different types of caption errors, compared with human-generated captioning techniques that have evolved over 40 years. As a result, there has been much consumer frustration. With these new technologies, it is critical to understand how caption errors impact consumers who rely on human and computer generated captions.