Improving student accessibility, equity, course performance, and lab skills: How introduction of ClassTranscribe is changing engineering education at the University of Illinois

Lawrence Angrave, Karin Jensen, Zhilin Zhang, Chirantan Mahipal, David Mussulman, Christopher D. Schmitz, Robert Thomas Baird, Hongye Liu, Ruihua Sui, Maryalice S. Wu, Rob Kooper

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


This paper presents three case studies that examined the use of ClassTranscribe in a diverse set of undergraduate engineering classes in 2019 and 2020 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. ClassTranscribe, a video viewing system designed with accessibility and learning in mind, was first presented to the ASEE community in 2019 [1]. The pedagogical features of the tool include: pause, leave and resume viewing; captions available in multiple languages; downloadable transcriptions; shareable links to video moments; and searchable content within each video and across an entire course. The importance of the tool in the context of a commitment to accessibility for engineering education is discussed. In addition, online video content that follows Universal Design for Learning principles enables all students to prepare for assessments and provides more equitable learning opportunities. Low-stress online learning opportunities may be particularly valuable for underrepresented minorities (e.g., [2] explored relative student improvement in multiple exams assessments in an online course with video lectures). The first study presented here describes two extremes: a supplemental-resource approach and primary-resource approach in the adoption of ClassTranscribe into an Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and Computer Science (CS) course, respectively. In Spring 2020, ECE students used the tool as a supplemental learning resource to review and search live lecture captures. Whereas in the sophomore CS course (N=271 students), physical lectures were canceled and ClassTranscribe was used as a primary learning resource using short-length (<10 minute) videos. The methodology and analysis of the CS course outcomes were described in [3] but relevant findings are reproduced here: Students in the lowest quartile improved by 3.3 percentile points compared to previous semesters and statistically-significant positive learning outcomes were found at all levels of student performance. Each quartile of students who used the tool an above average amount of time led to increased final exam scores, with the lowest quartile increasing 14.4 absolute points compared to their in-quartile peers. A new contribution of this paper is an analysis of the interactions with the tool, which found three event types: Fullscreen-viewing, Change-playback-speed and Search-Transcription predicted improved exam performance and were statistically significant (p<0.01). In the second case study, video instruction was used to present safety and lab-handling techniques in a Bioengineering class prior to rigorous lab assessment. The student-specific analytic data available to the course instructor using the web interface allowed the instructor to check that each student had completed training materials prior to lab work. Student surveys measured several factors including the utility of the tool and students' preferences in video systems and video-based Bioengineering instruction. In the third case study, student feedback from CS and ECE courses were solicited on learning utility and digital accessibility. The majority of the 206 responses reported high utility ('moderately useful or greater) of the tool when working on assignments (67%) and preparing for an exam (77%). The majority of respondents (96%, n=239) recommended the tool be re-used in future semesters of their course. We present example survey questions that respect student choice to not-self disclose a disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number839
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
Event2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 26 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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