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Are there differences between transcription services provided in pre-college and college settings?

Yes, there can be differences in the transcription services provided in these two settings. Many college students don't need extensive editing of the transcripts that were produced in real time. Usually, the college transcriber needs only to correct any spelling errors and highlight homework assignments. Thus, the schedule for a college transcriber may not have to include as much time for editing as does the schedule of a junior high or high school transcriber.

On the other hand, many younger students are helped by having more streamlined transcripts or notes to study after class, and so the transcriber needs time scheduled to make the after-class transcripts educationally useful. In this case, we recommend an average of a half-hour of editing time for each hour in class; however, this is only a guideline, not a rule. Editing time should be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Beginning transcribers, and those in particularly heavy-content classes, may need more time for editing.

A second difference in transcribing between pre-college and college settings is the density of information usually conveyed in class. The rate and amount of information presented in college classes tend to be very high. This can, of course, be true in some pre-college classes, too, but it is definitely very common in college classes. The greater the density of information presented by the instructor, the less downtime the transcriber has during class. Because downtime is desirable to avoid physical stress due to the repetitive motion of typing, as well as the mental fatigue of active listening, care should be taken to schedule breaks for transcribers in intense classes, either by having breaks between classes or by having a team of transcribers sharing any long, intense classes.

The third difference between pre-college and college settings is that the education of pre-college students with disabilities is covered by a detailed federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, commonly known as IDEA. Any deaf or hard-of-hearing student who is not obtaining equal communication access to the information being presented in class—by instructors and peers—is a candidate for transcription services. The 2004 re-authorization of IDEA specifically names TypeWell as a support service which should be considered for deaf and hard of hearing students. Thus, students who are missing information because of the inherent difficulty of speech reading, and reduced auditory information despite hearing aids and FM equipment, should be considered as candidates for TypeWell services.

One requirement of the IDEA is that an Individual Education Plan (IEP) be written for each disabled student in pre-college programs. Thus, once it is determined that transcription services are appropriate for a specific 5-12 grade student, an IEP goal reflecting this need has to be written. Each district has its own format for IEP goals. These are some of the ways instructors have written IEP goals related to transcription services:

"(Student) will increase the information obtained during class by reading a computer-displayed transcription of what is said by the instructor and students."

"(Student) will increase the amount of information learned by studying detailed class notes produced from a transcription of class communication."