Transforming the Instructional Landscape: What We’ve Learned About Transcripts

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Georgia is outside, smiling towards the camera and wearing. a dark blue shirt.

Written by Georgia Maxwell (Senior Research Assistant) and Marcus Lomboy (Design Research Assistant for Transforming the Instructional Landscape)

For the past four years, the Innovation Hub has teamed up with the Learning Space Management (LSM) Team to examine how learning environments can be improved for both instructors and students.  

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Due to the recent shift to online learning, the Transforming the Instructional Landscape (TIL) team spent the Winter semester conducting a pilot study with a small group of instructors teaching their classes remotely. For the pilot, instructors were paired with “co-pilots” who supported them with their technical needs. One instructor who participated in the pilot required transcripts for their lecturing recordings, and so the transcription case study was born. 

What We Learned

From our study, we learned that 68 percent of students watch lecture recordings after they’ve attended class to help support their learning and prepare for assessments. Having transcripts made available for these recordings is extremely valuable as they help with disability-related access needs, clarity issues, and language barriers.  

While transcripts are important to students for a number of reasons, they are extremely time-consuming to make. On average, it took the instructor three times the length of their lecture to create a transcript for what was said. This means that for every two hour lecture they recorded, they spent an additional six hours making transcripts. As well, the instructor experienced issues with audio recording and the transcription software, which only raised more barriers to creating fast and reliable transcriptions for students.  

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To help improve the transcript experience for everyone, the technical “co-pilot” began helping with transcription creation which led to amazing results. Once the instructor was being supported in their transcript creation, the time it took to create each transcript was reduced by 50 percent, and fewer audio and technical issues were experienced during the process. As a result, the instructor could spend more time focusing on teaching, grading, and administration, while still providing their students with reliable transcriptions to support their learning.  

All in all, our case study found that when instructors are supported in creating transcripts, students are better supported in their learning.