Student Frequently Asked Questions - D/deaf & Hard of Hearing

What is CART? 

CART stands for Communication Access Realtime Translation, typically referred to as CART. Real-time captioning and CART are terms used interchangeably in this document. 

What is CART or real-time captioning as an accommodation?

The CART provider is a trained stenographer who will be either in class or event with the student or accessing the class or event remotely through an audio feed. The captioner will type everything that is said in class or event, and use a screen-sharing program for the student to read as captions, so that they may follow along in real time on their own laptop screen.

When does the service start?

CART services begin when the class or event starts and it ends when the class or event is scheduled to be over. If the class goes past the scheduled end time, the captioner may have to leave. If the captioner is available they may decide to stay. 

Does CART cover classroom or event breaks (taken by the teacher or the student)?

No, the captioner is advised to take a break at the same time the class or event takes a break or when the student takes a break). The purpose of the service is to provide equal access to what is being said when the student is in the classroom or event. 

What does the accommodation include?

CART or real-time captioning includes:

  • Access to the class or event while the eligible student is present
  • A transcript, edited for grammatical and spelling errors, provided to the student within 24 hours. 

What is a transcript and what is included in it? 

A transcript is a copy of what was said during the class or event. While it has been edited for grammar and spelling mistakes, it does not represent a level of accuracy that we would expect with other post-production captioning services. It may be referred to by some captioners as  “notes” as it is not a “perfect” account of the event. 

How do I get an accessible video or podcast or any other audio material?

You may make your request through the SDS office coordinator and use the provided form. 

What happens if I don’t show up to the class or event?

Captioners have been instructed to wait for 15 minutes; if the student does not show up, then the captioner will leave. 

Do I get a transcript of the class or event if I don’t come to class?

No, the student must be present to receive real-time captioning services; the captioner will leave after 15 minutes if the student does not attend the class or event. 

How do we determine whether or not a student receives real-time captioning?

Students requesting captioning services will go through the intake and eligibility process with their disability specialist to determine appropriate accommodations, including real-time captioning. As part of this process, students should anticipate that they must submit qualifying documentation.

What documentation might qualify me for CART services? 

Students can present different forms of documentation and may have a number of different conditions in order to qualify for captioning services or accessible materials. While the list below is not an exhaustive list, it is an example of what kinds of conditions may qualify a student for CART:

Documentation may come in the form of our verification form found on our website, a letter from your treating clinician, an audiogram, or past IEP or 504 plan. 

Students that are D/deaf/HOH may also have other disabilities that compound their hearing difficulties, which may increase their need for CART, and/or they may have had an economic disadvantage to services while growing up thus leaving them with no history of receiving services. Students may also be attending USF from the international community and their country of origin may not recognize the ADA, and therefore the student may have no experience with disability services. SDS actively works to close these gaps of inequity which is in alignment with the university’s mission. 

How much does the history of requested accommodations play into the eligibility process?

SDS will consider the student’s history of accommodations as part of the eligibility process when determining reasonable accommodations.

When do we consider technological solutions for captioning vs. real-time captioning?

SDS embraces and encourages technology solutions for access needs when it is appropriate for the student. Disability specialists will do an individualized assessment of each student to determine if technology can be part of a student’s accommodations. Currently, exclusive use of technology or artificial intelligence for in class captioning needs do not currently meet the accuracy levels needed for communication access in education (WCAG Guidelines), therefore, we would not consider technology as a primary source of communication access for D/deaf/HOH students unless specifically requested by a student. There are cases when we do use automatic speech recognition (ASR) or other technology solutions to supplement services or due to student preference; in that case, it would be noted as such in the student’s approved accommodation eligibility. 

What is American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation?

American Sign Language (ASL) to English interpretation makes communication possible between people who are D/deaf and those that do not use ASL as their primary mode of communication. Interpreting is a complex process that requires a high degree of linguistic, cognitive and technical skills in both English and ASL. ASL interpreting, like spoken language interpreting, involves more than simply replacing a word of spoken English with a signed representation of that English word. ASL has its own grammatical rules, sentence structure and cultural nuances. Interpreters must thoroughly understand the subject matter in which they work so that they are able to convert information from one language, known as the source language, into another, known as the target language. In addition, interpretations can incorporate cultural information associated with the languages used.

When are ASL interpretation services appropriate?

When a D/deaf or HOH student uses ASL as their primary language, that may request ASL interpretation services from SDS during the intake and eligibility process. 

How do I request interpreters for classes or events?

Please work closely with your disability specialist to request and coordinate these academic and student life related services. It is helpful to submit your class schedule to your specialist as early as possible (4 months in advance, directly after you register for classes) to ensure that there is a reasonable amount of time to arrange for services, and communicate regularly any changes to the schedule or class sequence. For one-time events or university-related meetings, please submit requests as soon as possible; SDS recommends at least 2 weeks  notice to guarantee a service provider.