During my four-year time at Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) as an AV Technician, I accomplished three major projects:  Web developer for the Media Services department as they transitioned from an antiquated HTML website to a modernized website in Drupal, I worked with an engineer to completely redo the media services request system used by the college to make media requests, and I was the first colleague on the team to learn the process of and execute the process of adding closed captioning to videos to bring the college in compliance with the Adults with Disabilities Act.

Web Developer for Media Services

The predecessor site was designed almost exclusively in HTML, though it did function the timeframe in which it was designed.  Some time after 2013-2014, the college performed a system-wide migration to a Drupal-powered website that you see today.  After presenting a number of ideas for site maintenance, and pointing out where information needed to be updated, my supervisor asked me to take the lead on keeping it updated.  While it took several months to align the department's website with the college's standards, it came out ahead to properly market the department.

In collaboration with the web developer for the college, I further developed the department's site to be compliant with the Adults with Disability Act.  It turned out that much of the accessibility for the site was built into templates and programming on the backend.  Using analytics obtained from marketing, I also modified content on pages whose traffic was lower in an attempt to driver further traffic.  While some pages would inevitably see low traffic because of the lack of need, some pages lacked traffic because people weren't aware of their existence.  I also discovered through talking with the college community that the vast majority were unaware that the department had a website.  I never expected the site to rank high in QCC's search, but my goal was to make sure that the college community knew that the website existed and that much of the information they sought via phone could easily be found on the site.

My final touches as I departed from the college involved separating pages such as equipment, media requests, the delivery schedule, the technician bios, and the department's mission statement.

Media Services Request System overhaul

When members of the college community wished to request service, they needed to fill out a one-page form which combined four types of request into one form.  It was originally a webform that would send a request form to our email boxes that one colleague would use to fill in the delivery schedule.  After a volley of complaints from the whole team, and also learning that an engineer had been hired, I offered to take point and solve the issue via a new request system.

This new request system would alleviate many of our issues and streamline the process by which the community would request assistance:

  • It separated each provided service into their own separate form for ease of viewing and submission.  They can be viewed at the following links:  Media Services Request Forms, Production Services, Webinar Request, Equipment Request Note:  The media request application requires credentials from QCC employees to view, therefore, it's likely that this form has changed in since 2015.
  • Each request would be input to a matrix of requests that the department could review and approve as necessary, and according to its policies.
  • It would take the burden off the scheduling associate by allowing any colleague with access to approve requests, which would immediately enter our calendar.
  • The forms were also easy to use at any skill level, but designed in a way that requests could be as simple, or as complex as needed by the requester.

As I was on my final month of service, the engineer I was working with accepted another contract, and I began collaborating with a new contractor who helped tie up some things.  The new system wasn't 100%, but it was leaps and bounds from where it was.

Video Captioning for ADA Accessibility

Approximately a year before I left QCC to pursue a second baccalaureate, I learned that aggressive enforcement of the Adults with Disabilities Acts was coming to the college in the form of video captions.  Out of a five-person team, we all knew what video captions were, but none of us knew how to create or embed them.  My workload was the lightest and I knew from watching captioned videos that I had the capacity and capability to type the spoken word into some kind of program.

Using some criteria from 3Play media and simply watching captioned videos, I developed an understanding of how to caption a video and the requirement to synchronize the transcribed word with the spoken audio.  Video captions can either be encoded into the video (open captions), or loaded in such a way that they can be toggled on or off by the user (closed captions).

By the time I'd become proficient in the craft, the department began captioning videos that it produced, as well as videos to be used elsewhere.