Streaming a Settlement

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Students hear good news

The National Association of the Deaf did not remain silent when online video lectures posted for programs through Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology did not include captions or subtitles.  Those who are hard of hearing were not capable of learning from online educational material.  Given the public forum of the posted videos, the subject was considered a federal issue. While the videos were open to any individuals who had access to the internet, not everyone was able to learn from the resources provided.  The 2015 lawsuit has finally seen resolution.

Based on the understanding that there are no specific laws prohibiting colleges from posting videos without captions, both Harvard and MIT insisted that the original lawsuit be dropped.  Last year, however, it was ruled by a judge that the matter at hand was a national civil rights problem.  Other collegiate institutions are also subject to stricter guidelines, as a similar claim was filed in the past against the University of California, Berkeley.  The college was able to find a loophole by preventing public access to their online educational tools.  Harvard and MIT did not succumb to that route, and instead, are ordered to adhere to certain settlement guidelines. In particular, a couple of months ago, Harvard arranged to show captioning in all publicly posted videos, as well as pay $1.5 million in legal fees.

To bring the final stages of the discrimination lawsuit to a close, MIT has also agreed to provide more video accessibility to their entire audience of learners, not just viewers who retain full hearing.  In addition, MIT agrees to pay more than $1 million in legal fees.  This agreement will lead to the implementation of captions and subtitles for any and all videos created and posted for public websites, such as YouTube and SoundCloud, and live streaming.  Despite the settlement terms reached recently, MIT is not admitting guilt in the accusations that the school discriminated against people who are deaf or hard of hearing.