@Ease Supporter Activities for the 2022 Commencement Ceremonies and the 2023 Entrance Ceremonies: Keio student "@ease supporters" take the lead on information accessibility and helping those who require special assistance
April 12, 2023
@ease supporters helped with information accessibility1 and provided support to students with disabilities who required special assistance at the AY2022 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony (Thursday, March 23), AY2022 Graduate Commencement Ceremony (Tuesday, March 28), AY2023 Undergraduate Entrance Ceremony (Saturday, April 1) and AY2023 Graduate Entrance Ceremony (Monday, April 3), held at the Hiyoshi Commemorative Hall.
"@ease supporter" is the general term referring to Keio student staff members at the Keio University Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion who are compensated to render assistance primarily to students with disabilities enrolled at Keio University. They also carry out barrier-free initiatives and programming.
In order to make information readily accessible at the ceremony, subtitles were made available on a screen at the ceremonies as well as on the YouTube stream. Subtitles were broadcast using a remote text interpretation system developed by the Tsukuba University of Technology called captiOnline2. This software converts the speaker's speech into subtitles in real time.
This was the first time the @ease supporters facilitated information accessibility at a large-scale ceremony, prompting a few nerves amongst the team members. However, their coordination and cooperation allowed them to fulfill their roles and ensure information accessibility, delivering real-time information to those with hearing impairments, as well as to the students' friends and families. Besides information accessibility, @ease supporters also provided support in a wide variety of situations to guests who required special assistance at the ceremonies.
The @ease project was established by Keio University and it has become an integral part of the university's efforts to support students with disabilities.
Going forward, Keio University is confident that the @ease supporters will grow as they gain experience through active participation in various future initiatives.
1: Information accessibility This refers to addressing the issue whereby persons with hearing or visual impairments are unable to obtain the same information as able-bodied persons by utilizing sign language, written texts, ICT technology, etc., to guarantee access to information that should be available to them.
2: captiOnline A remote text interpretation system developed by Professor Daisuke Wakatsuki of the Tsukuba University of Technology.
@ease supporters creating subtitles
Screen at the venue with the speaker’s speech projected in real time