New project to make online learning more accessible

Yun Huang
Yun Huang, Associate Professor

While traditional closed captions represent the spoken part of a video, important content may not be expressed, to the detriment of audiences who depend on captions to understand the material being presented. With the increasing reliance on videos in online learning, this becomes even more problematic. A new collaborative project being led by Assistant Professor Yun Huang will focus on explanatory captions, which give insight into a video's visual and audio content as well as the spoken word. Her project, "Advancing STEM Online Learning by Augmenting Accessibility with Explanatory Captions and AI," has received a three-year $526,006 grant (totaling $849,994 with two collaborators at Gallaudet University and University at Notre Dame) from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

"Explanatory captions have the potential to play a new role in STEM learning," said Huang. "This project will work to devise effective Q/A mechanisms and interaction designs, such as chatbots, that enable students and instructors to generate explanatory captions for STEM videos in a collaborative manner."

The proposed technologies will make videos more accessible to the deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) community and non-native English speakers. Evaluation sites will include Gallaudet University, the world's only liberal arts university dedicated exclusively to educating DHH learners, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which has the largest international student population among U.S. public universities.

Huang's research areas include social computing, human-computer interaction, mobile computing, and crowdsourcing. She received her PhD in information and computer science from the University of California, Irvine.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

CCB to host events centered on Asian American history

In 2022, Illinois became the first state in the nation to mandate the teaching of Asian American community history in public elementary and secondary high schools. The Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act ensures that every K-12 student in Illinois learns about the contributions of Asian Americans to the economic, cultural, social, and political development of the United States. To mark the implementation of this act, the Center for Children's Books (CCB) is hosting a series of events for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Spectrum Scholar Spotlight: Inbar Michael

Thirteen iSchool master's students were named 2022-2023 Spectrum Scholars by the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services. This "Spectrum Scholar Spotlight" series highlights the School’s scholars. MS/LIS student Inbar Michael earned her bachelor's degree in history with a minor in humanities and law from the University of California, Irvine.

Inbar Michael

NSF FABRIC project completes phase 1, enabling early testing of unprecedented large-scale network experiments

The NSF-funded FABRIC project has made steady progress establishing the groundbreaking network testbed infrastructure to reimagine the way large amounts of data are generated, stored, analyzed, and transmitted across the world. With the required hardware, software, storage, and fiber optic connections in place, the FABRIC system is available for early users to build and test novel large-scale experiments. 

Anita Nikolich

Knox to co-lead new project addressing racism and social injustice

A project co-led by Emily Knox is one of the twenty-five projects that recently received funding through the Chancellor's Call to Action Research Program to Address Racism and Social Injustice. The program is a $2 million annual commitment by the University of Illinois to respond to the critical need for universities across the nation to prioritize research focused on systemic racial inequities and injustices that exist not only in communities but in higher education itself. For 2022, the funded projects will focus on systemic racism and social justice, law enforcement and criminal justice reform, and disparities in health and health care.

Emily Knox

iSchool instructors ranked as excellent

Forty-four iSchool instructors were named in the University's List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent for Spring 2022. The rankings are released every semester, and results are based on the Instructor and Course Evaluation System (ICES) questionnaire forms maintained by Measurement and Evaluation in the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. Only those instructors who gave out ICES forms during the semester and who released their data for publication are included in the list.

iSchool Building