Videophone helps students communicate

Becky Seiler signs a message to a call center operator.

Videophone helps students communicate

Friday, February 15, 2013

Contact

College Director of Communications
417.447.2655 publicinfo@otc.edu
Steve Koehler
Coordinator of Publications (417) 447-2666 koehlers@otc.edu

Becky Seiler sat down in front of a large video monitor on the second floor of the Graff Building at OTC and dialed the phone to call her mother.

But instead of the call going directly to her mom, a young man appeared on the screen wearing a headset. Becky signed a message to the man on the screen who relayed the message verbally to Beckys mom.

It was the first time Becky had used the colleges new videophone that had been donated to the school to be used by deaf and hard of hearing students, including those enrolled in OTCs GED program.

"Basically, the phone provides a resource and support for the students at OTC who are deaf or hard of hearing," said Melissa Jones, an instructor in the GED program who works with deaf and hard of hearing students.

The phone was donated to the school by its manufacturer, Sorenson VRS, and was installed a few weeks ago. OTC only had to provide the monitor and the Internet connection.

Calls made on the device either go directly to a place where there is another videophone or to a call center where an interpreter talks to the student through sign language and then verbally talks to the person the student is calling.

The phone is for making school-related or job-related calls. It is also there for some personal or emergency calls, if necessary.

"The main reason we wanted to get the video phone was to make the OTC campus a deaf-friendly and deaf-accessible environment for all deaf or hard of hearing students," Jones said.

"As a state-of-the-art institution, it is OTCs responsibility and pleasure to provide students, including those with disabilities, with innovative technologies to use while on campus."

Julia Edwards, assistant dean in the schools Disability Support office, said the phone is a great addition to the school

"The Office of Disability Support is glad to have been a part of such an important collaboration on campus. The video phone will be a great benefit for our students who are deaf," she said.

The phone is a hit with hearing-challenged students like Becky.

"I like the phone. I have one at home. I don't use it that often, but I think I will now," she said.