Communication Sciences & Disorders -- Sign Language Lab
An exciting development in teaching and technology may be found in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at Baylor. A sign language lab was installed, which allows students to have more and varied exposure to the language. This innovative use of technology also provides the faculty with opportunities to develop their own teaching materials.
The lab consists of five computer stations with cameras. Students may view themselves signing as they listen to audio exercises via headsets. In addition, they are able to view and emulate a signer as they view themselves. Students have the option to translate a signer while their work is captured and forwarded via Bearspace to the professor for grading.
Viewing students' work as a video file is a significant advancement for the faculty. In the past, it was difficult to compare the students' work to video tapes created by professional signers. In addition, this new technology enables the faculty to create course materials. This is particularly beneficial in the sign language field where teaching materials are limited. The ability to use digital video, combined with the ability to perform non-linear video editing, is a catalyst for unleashing the creative abilities of the CSD Sign Language Faculty. Lori Wrzesinski, Director of the Sign Language Program says, "We now have the ability to merge technology with teaching to improve the student's ability to communicate effectively with Deaf people and learn more about the Deaf culture."
Dr. David Garrett, chair of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department says, "We are getting phone calls from other universities. Baylor is on the leading edge of this technology. Now everybody in the country will be looking to us for new, innovative techniques in teaching sign language."
Teaching Systems, Inc. is the hardware vendor and Sony Soloist is the software used. Josh Ward, Technical Consultant for the Arts and Sciences Technology Center and Will Telfer, Information Technology Specialist for the Electronic Library, worked with Eric Schwartz of Teaching Systems, Inc. to implement the system, and were instrumental in ensuring the successful completion of this important enrichment for students and faculty in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department.