Asee peer logo

Enhancing Accessibility of Engineering Lectures for Deaf & Hard of Hearing (DHH): Real-time Tracking Text Displays (RTTD) in Classrooms

Download Paper |


2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Broadening Participation in Engineering

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.657.1 - 26.657.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Gary W Behm Rochester Institute of Technology (CAST)

visit author page

Gary W. Behm, Assistant Professor of Engineering Studies Department, and Director of NTID Center on Access Technology Innovation Laboratory, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology.

Gary has been teaching and directing the Center on Access Technology Innovation Laboratory at NTID for five years. He is a deaf engineer who retired from IBM after serving for 30 years. He is a development engineering and manufacturing content expert. He develops and teaches all related engineering courses. His responsibility as a director of Center on Access Technology Innovation Laboratory include the planning, implementation and dissemination of research projects that are related to the need of accessibility. He received his BS from RIT and his MS from Lehigh University. His last assignment with IBM was an Advanced Process Control project manager. He managed team members in delivering the next generation Advanced Process Control solution which replaced the legacy APC system in the 300 mm semiconductor fabricator. Behm has fifteen patents and has presented over 30 scientific and technical papers at various professional conferences worldwide.

visit author page


Raja S Kushalnagar Rochester Institute of Technology

visit author page

Raja Kushalnagar is an Assistant Professor in the Information and Computing Studies Department at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. He teaches information and/or computing courses, and tutors deaf and hard of hearing students in computer science/information technology courses.
His research interests focus on the intersection of disability law, accessible and educational technology, and human-computer interaction. He is focused on enhancing educational access for deaf and hard of hearing students in mainstreamed classrooms.
He worked in industry for over five years before returning to academia and disability law policy. Towards that end, he completed a J.D. and LL.M. in disability law, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science.

visit author page


Joseph S. Stanislow National Technical Institute for the Deaf

visit author page

Joseph Stanislow is a faculty in the Information and Computing Studies Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Joe has been teaching and tutoring computer and information technology to AOS/AAS/AS/ BS students for over 14 years. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a Master of Science in Computer Science from Stevens Institute of Technology. Before joining the NTID faculty he worked for AT&T Bell Laboratories as an electrical engineer, a physical designer, and a computer programmer for 20 years.

visit author page


Aaron Weir Kelstone RIT/NTID

visit author page

Ed.D in Education, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, 2013
M.A. in English Literature Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, 2001
B.A. in English Literature Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1994
Senior Lecturer, 2010 & Program Director of Performing Arts, NTID ,2011
American Deaf Prose: 1980-2010: Gallaudet Deaf Literature Series, Vol. 1, “Homecoming,” Gallaudet UP, April, 2012
Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry, “Ruminations of a Cyborg,” ( March, 2010
Vignettes of a Deaf Character: Foreword, Gallaudet UP, November 2010
Tactile Mind Press,“25-Cents,” Minneapolis, MN, 2001
NSF-funded dance production that interprets scientific principles for a general audience. Astrophysics and Dance: Engaging Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, and Hearing Individuals in Science Education (NSF Award No. DRL-1136221) culminated in a dance performance that toured the country. It used a multimedia theatrical production to communicate information about gravitational astrophysics to members of the general public, with a special emphasis on deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals
Theatre background provides insight related to the use and implementation of access technology in performance and presentation environments to support development of prototypes for use in performances.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Enhancing Accessibility of Engineering Lectures for Deaf & Hard of Hearing: Real-time Tracking Text Displays (RTTD) in a ClassroomMost deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) students cannot understand the spoken lectures without theaid of aural-to-visual access. Prior to the introduction of the earliest accessibility laws in 1974,less than 4% of DHH individuals completed college in the 1960s. Forty years later, only 16% ofDHH individuals graduate, far less than 30% of their hearing peers.Significant but subtle barriers related to using real-time text (RT) remain, especially inengineering, which makes heavy use of detailed visuals and explanations via sequential steps(Kushalnagar, 2014). Hearing students are able to look at the visuals and simultaneously listen tothe spoken explanation and combine the two effortlessly. By contrast, DHH students have toconstantly look away from RT to search and observe details in the lecture visual as shown inFigure 1. They risk losing information, as the failure to understand a single sentence can slowdown or even derail learning. As a result, they spend less time watching lecture visuals and gainless information than their hearing peers.We address two major barriers in using RT. First, the audio-to-visual nature of RT creates asimultaneous visual source for the student, who is forced to choose and switch between lookingat the RT and the current lecture visual materials (e.g., slides or demonstrations). If the studentlooks at RT, they miss slide or lecture information, or vice-versa. Second, the constantmovement of the student’s eyes or head is exhausting, and as a result, the student will focus ononly RTT to his/her detriment as shown in Figure 2. The ability to monitor and follow lectureinformation from dispersed visuals is difficult to address without accessible technology aids. Weexplore the efficacy of our accessible technology solution that mitigates the two barriersmentioned above. It projects RT above the presenter, and automatically tracks the presenter andmoves the RT to always be displayed above the presenter as shown in Figure 3.We investigate the feasibility and usefulness of using RTTD in managing visual gaze in theclassroom. We will recruit student participants to watch a live lecture with multiple visuals:instructor, slides, and whiteboard, which are used in most introductory engineering courses. Wewill set up RTTD in the lecture room as shown in Figure 3.We will describe the results of our controlled usability evaluation with quantitative measures,such as comprehension scores, and eye-tracking data. We will report on the degree ofimprovement, if any of students’ understanding of class content. We will identify benefits andlimitations of using RTTD in supporting both DHH and hearing students. We will measure andreport performance through comprehension questions, time to answer, and perceived ease offollowing the lecture. Finally, we will report student comments on their experiences in using thetechnology to follow the lecture. Figure 1: Real-Time Text and slides Figure 2: Dispersed visualsFigure 3: Real-Time Tracking Text Display (RTTD)

Behm, G. W., & Kushalnagar, R. S., & Stanislow, J. S., & Kelstone, A. W. (2015, June), Enhancing Accessibility of Engineering Lectures for Deaf & Hard of Hearing (DHH): Real-time Tracking Text Displays (RTTD) in Classrooms Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23995

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015