The University of Southampton

Double honour makes a busy day for Synote developer

Published: 12 June 2011

Friday 16 July will be a busy and high-profile day for Dr Mike Wald. Not only is he presenting at the ‘1st Digital Agenda Assembly’ for Europe, taking place in Brussels, but as a finalist in this year’s prestigious Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards, he will be attending the awards ceremony on the same day.

The Digital Assembly is organized by the European Commission’s Information Society and is part of the Digital Agenda for Europe initiative. The focus of the event is on shaping and co-creating a barrier-free digital Europe by people with disabilities themselves, in line with policy, technology, innovation and cooperation perspectives. Web accessibility for public and private online services plays a crucial part in this agenda. Dr Wald will be presenting his work on Synote, which has won wide recognition for its ability to transform learning for all students, including those with disabilities. Synote makes multimedia resources such as video and audio easier to access, search, manage, and exploit. Learners, teachers and other users can create notes, bookmarks, tags, links, images and text captions synchronised to any part of a recording, such as a lecture.

In a further initiative, Dr Wald will be talking about how Synote has incorporated crowdsourcing to provide a sustainable method of making audio or video recordings accessible to people who find it difficult to understand speech through hearing alone.

He comments: “Automatic captioning of lectures is possible using speech recognition technologies but it results in recognition errors requiring manual correction and this is costly and time-consuming. 'Crowdsourcing' the corrections of speech recognition transcription errors is a sustainable way of captioning lecture recordings.”

Dr Wald will be presenting remotely because he will be attending the Awards Ceremony in London with the University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Don Nutbeam, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Education, Professor Debra Humphris. The University of Southampton has been shortlisted for the ‘ICT Initiative of the Year Award’ for its support and development of Synote.

"I am delighted that Synote has been appreciated and used throughout the world and has won and been nominated for so many awards since the first version was made available in 2008," said Dr Wald. ______

Dr Mike Wald is a member of the Learning Societies Lab in ECS-Electronics and Computer Science. If you are interested in doing PhD research in this group, you will find more information on our Postgraduate Admissions Pages.

For further information about this story contact Joyce Lewis; tel.+44(0)23 8059 5453.

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