The Legacy of Judy Heumann, “The Mother of Disability Rights”

As a child in 1949 living in Brooklyn, New York, Heumann contracted polio and began using a wheelchair for mobility. At the age of five, she was deemed a “fire hazard,” and denied entry to school, according to her website. As a child, her mother advocated for her and she was eventually allowed into school. Though this was among the first discriminatory acts against her, it was not the last. 

“Some people say that what I did changed the world, but really, I simply refused to accept what I was told about who I could be. And I was willing to make a fuss about it.”

“It was still a radical claim that disabled people didn’t see themselves, or their conditions, as something to be pitied. Or that they insisted what most held them back wasn’t their health condition but society’s exclusion — maybe attitudes that they were less capable to do a job, go to college or find romance; or a physical barrier, like a sidewalk without a curb cut,” said NPR’s Joseph Shapiro in an article about Heumann.  

Shapiro shared that he wrote an article about disability rights in 1987 in which Heumann said “Disability only becomes a tragedy when society fails to provide the things we need to lead our lives — job opportunities or barrier-free buildings, for example,” she said. “It is not a tragedy to me that I’m living in a wheelchair.” The article was not published because the idea she relayed seemed so “unexpected and strange.”

Starting a Revolution

In 1970, after Heumann passed her oral and written teaching exams, but she ultimately failed the medical exam where she was again deemed a “fire hazard.” This time, examiners said she would not be able to evacuate children or herself during an emergency. Heumann sued the board of education to allow her to become a teacher. The New York Times headline read “Woman in Wheel Chair Sues to Become Teacher” and the article noted she would be the city’s first teacher in a wheelchair. Her lawyers said the case was the first such civil rights suit ever filed in a federal court. 

She was instrumental in the development and passage of Section 504, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which “have been advancing the inclusion of disabled people in the US and around the world and fighting to end discrimination against all those with disabilities.”Judy Heumann and her husband

“Section 504 became a model for the ADA, which would extend the principles of non-discrimination to all public accommodations, employment, transportation, communications and access to state and local government programs,” NPR said. That means if you’ve ever used an elevator in a subway station or busy public area, if you used the curb cuts to more easily get on a sidewalk, or if you’ve used the accessible restrooms in a public space, you’ve benefited from the ADA. Closed captions, transcripts, and website accessibility, are all other examples of services for disabled people that benefit everyone. 

When Richard Nixon vetoed the 1972 Rehabilitation act, Heumann helped lead a protest that shut down traffic in Manhattan. She also launched a 26-day sit-in at a federal building in San Francisco to get Section 504 of the revived Rehabilitation Act enforced. “(The sit-in) has often been described as the longest nonviolent occupation of a federal building in American history,” The New York Times reported.

More Advocacy Efforts

Heumann never stopped at securing rights for herself, but continued her work for others. Heumann co-founded the World Institute on Disability (WID), which was among the first global disability rights organizations led by people with disabilities. The institute is “dedicated to designing, building, and supporting whole community solutions by removing barriers to include people with disabilities.”

Heumann served the Clinton Administration as the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the Department of Education from 1993 to 2001. From 2002 to 2006, she was the World Bank’s first Adviser on Disability and Development. 

She was appointed by President Barack Obama as the first Special Advisor for International Disability Rights in the U.S. Department of State, a position she held from 2010-2017. She also was the Director for the Department on Disability Services and responsible for the Developmental Disability Administration and the Rehabilitation Services Administration. 

The American Civil Liberties Union said she traveled to countries on every continent to help change the way people perceive those with disabilities and to help remove barriers they face in their everyday lives. Between 2000 and 2015, 181 countries passed disability civil rights modeled after the ADA, according to NPR.

Documentary and Book Release

Just before the pandemic, Heumann was featured in a documentary released at the 2020 Sundance film festival. “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution,” was about Heumann and others who attended a summer camp (Camp Janed) for children with disabilities in the Catskills. Heumann later was a counselor at the camp. Camp Janed became “the beginnings of a revolution.”

“What I want is for the book and the film — and other books and films — to allow people to recognize the real absence of representation of disability in media, broadly speaking”

Heumann also has a memoir, “Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist.” Heumann told The Cut, “What I want is for the book and the film — and other books and films — to allow people to recognize the real absence of representation of disability in media, broadly speaking. Black disabled people, Latino disabled people, Asian disabled people, indigenous disabled people, disabled people with visible and invisible disabilities — they’re pretty absent. And yet, in the United States, it’s more than 20 percent of our population. Disability is something that all families experience, temporarily or permanently.”

“Some people say that what I did changed the world,” she wrote, “But really, I simply refused to accept what I was told about who I could be. And I was willing to make a fuss about it.”

Learn more about Judy Heumann on her website

Photos courtesy of

Benefits of Online Test Proctoring in Higher Education

We’ve outlined some of the top benefits of online test proctoring in higher education.

Benefits for Institutions

Online Proctoring Software Verifies IdentitiesScreenshot of student getting an ID

Identity verification is a key element in secure online testing, as institutions want to ensure the student receiving the credit is the one taking the test. Software tools like YuJa Verity make identity verification part of the process to ensure grades are being earned with integrity.

Online Test Proctoring Software is Scalable

Because there is no specialized hardware, online test proctoring can be rolled out anywhere. As the number of online, hybrid and hyflex courses increases, so does the need for an online test proctoring solution that affordably scales with the institution. 

Benefits for Instructors

No Complicated Learning Curve for Instructors

Instructors have a lot on their plates without having to learn something new for remote test proctoring. With software that integrates directly with an institution’s LMS, instructors can create a quiz or test in their LMS as they normally would, edit their settings, and wait for students to take their assessments. Results are displayed in a central LTI app location.

“With software that integrates directly with an institution’s LMS, instructors can create a quiz or test in their LMS as they normally would, edit their settings, and wait for students to take their assessments.”

Analytics Provide In-Depth Reports on Testing Behaviors 

With deep analytics, instructors can better understand current patterns and trends over time both for their course and for individual students. Instructors can use these reports to improve online testing success.

Benefits for Students

Online Proctoring Offers Flexibility to Test-Takers

Students can take tests online from the comfort of their own home or in a place that is familiar and comfortable. In addition, if those taking the test are professionals testing for certifications or licenses, or students with daytime obligations, they don’t have to take time off to travel to a testing center or worry about timing as long as the test is completed during a set timeframe.

Users Don’t Need Specialized Hardware

Users can take tests – including those conducted by third parties like Pearson-Vue, McGraw, ALEKS, and others – with a standard desktop, laptop, or tablet in a few simple steps. This helps make testing available to students no matter where they are in the country or world. 



Case Study: How Oakland University Uses YuJa’s Robust Suite of Ed-Tech Tools to Enhance Instruction Across Live, Hybrid and Hyflex Courses

Led by Dan Arnold, Ph.D., OU’s Manager of Support Services, e-Learning and Instructional Support, a selection committee of about a dozen users from various departments watched demonstrations and scored finalists.

“YuJa got on our radar as part of the procurement process. A lot of vendors came in with use cases strictly on video conferencing that could be used in a way for lecture capture, but not distinct tools for video conferencing as well as lecture capture,” Arnold recalled.

Read the full case study here.

Case Study: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Uses YuJa’s Video Platform to Deliver High-Quality Media Experiences to More Than 13,000 Students

Several years ago, SIUE had a locally-hosted, homegrown media streaming solution. Matthew Schmitz, Associate Director of Online and Blended Education, said the solution worked, but had a lot of disadvantages in that the interface wasn’t user-friendly, the public couldn’t upload content, and it was “load heavy” for the institution’s Information Technology Services (ITS) department.

Read the full case study here.

Case Study: Canada’s Largest Art, Design, and Media University, OCAD U, Turns to YuJa to Enhance Art and Design Education

Founded in 1876, OCAD U is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge creation and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD U continuously builds on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practices, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies.

Read the full case study here.

YuJa Contributes to Heartland Community College and Illinois Community Colleges Online’s Accessibility Efforts

Heartland Community College, a public community college with four campuses in Illinois, has made tremendous strides in accessibility and has helped lead Illinois Community College Online’s accessibility efforts. One of the primary drivers has been YuJa Panorama, one product in YuJa’s suite of high-impact media solutions that help institutions deliver accessible, engaging video and media content to users.

“…the shining star of this transition is (YuJa) Panorama.”

YuJa Panorama enhances accessibility with auto-generation of a number of Accessible Alternatives of course material in the background — from HTML, to electronic Braille, EPUB, audio (speech-to-text), high contrast, tagged PDF files and more and provides a Visual Gauge for a quick check of accessibility. Detailed reports at a course and institution level help measure and track accessibility.

Anna Catterson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Online Learning & Instructional Technologies at Heartland Community College and an Assistant Professor, Baker University School of Education and Jewel Crowley-Custis, Coordinator of Instructional Technologies at Heartland Community College recently published a white paper Breaking Down Barriers in the Heartland to highlight the institution’s journey to accessibility. 

“When Heartland Community College began this journey, the college was not aware of many accessibility laws and regulations, especially when it came to Section 508 Refresh,” the whitepaper states. “Our college was not alone, in fact, after a poll completed in 2019, over 85% of community colleges in Illinois reported that they had no accessibility plan or timeline (Illinois Community Colleges Online, 2019).”

“Panorama is integrated into every course and is viewable on both the faculty and student side. The faculty are provided an accessibility score for their entire course with suggestions on how to improve accessibility.”

The institution launched YuJa’s Enterprise Video Platform and YuJa Panorama for Digital Accessibility this past fall. “While YuJa has expanded options for video recording, including the automatic addition of captions to each video recorded or uploaded, a video editor and various options of recording features, and video quizzing, the shining star of this transition is Panorama,” the authors note. 

“Panorama is integrated into every course and is viewable on both the faculty and student side. The faculty are provided an accessibility score for their entire course with suggestions on how to improve accessibility, especially for their documents. Each document that is uploaded is also provided with a scale of how accessible it is. Students have the option to download every document, such as a syllabus into various formats, including braille, epub, text-to-speech, and more. To date, since the implementation of Panorama, Heartland Community College’s overall accessibility rate for Canvas courses is 64% with over 2000 uploaded files with no accessibility issues.”

Read the full whitepaper on LinkedIn.

YuJa Expands AV Support to NCast Hardware Encoders to Help Institutions Seamlessly Deliver Multimedia Presentations

NCast Hardware Encoder DeviceYuJa’s integration with NCast will enable instructors to automatically import recordings into the YuJa Video Content Management System (CMS).  

The integration brings together the scheduling, automation, and previewing tools of YuJa’s CMS with NCast’s presentation and recording hardware to help deliver a comprehensive media delivery system. 

“With simple setup and integration into the YuJa Enterprise Video Platform, NCast encoders are ready for lecture capture, video conferencing, digital asset management, live streaming events or a host of other uses.”

YuJa provides a powerful combination that delivers across devices. With simple setup and integration into the YuJa Enterprise Video Platform, NCast encoders are ready for lecture capture, video conferencing, digital asset management, live streaming events or a host of other uses. 

This newest partnership complements YuJa’s market-leading integration with other hardware encoders, including Matrox, Extron, and Epiphan, ensuring institutions can streamline recording, editing, and streaming.

YuJa partners with a host of other technology and channel partners. View all of our partners.

YuJa to Present at Annual EDUCAUSE Conference Oct. 26-27

“EDUCAUSE helps higher education optimize the impact of IT. All EDUCAUSE activities and services aim to strengthen higher education. From building the IT profession, to connecting and facilitating collaboration across the community of practitioners, thought leaders and key influencers to providing expert research, data and analysis to better inform strategic decision-making on campus, EDUCAUSE helps members understand the strategic role of IT on campus as well as make the most of that role,” EDUCAUSE says on its LinkedIn page.

YuJa Inc. will be among the presenters at EDUCAUSE, held in Denver, Colorado Oct 25-28. Conference attendees can stop by YuJa’s booth, #116, during the exhibition portion of the event Oct. 26-27, 2022.

EDUCAUSE provides essential opportunities for education, networking, and growth to higher ed IT professionals from across the country. The annual conference is the premier event for higher education IT professionals, and is packed with timely content, prominent presenters, and numerous ways for attendees to engage, learn, and connect with others in the field while advancing professional skills.  

Individualized programmatic tracks at EDUCAUSE enable attendees to get the maximum benefit from their time and investment in personal and professional IT development. 

Top Eight Benefits of Captioning

The benefits of captioning are manifold, however, there are a few significant advantages that every organization should keep in mind as they choose their Video Content Management System (VCMS) and lecture capture platforms.

Here are the top eight benefits of captions:

Provide Insights for Those with Disabilities

Captions can significantly help those with hearing disabilities and impairments. Captions can make verbally expressed words simpler to hear for those with hearing loss. This is because the meaning of words is affected by the hearer’s assumptions. Captions also give data about audio effects or speaker identification that may be crucial to understanding the content of the video.

Help Those in Sound-Sensitive Environments

With the help of closed captions, audiences can watch videos in places where sound is inaccessible or frowned upon. This is most true in libraries, offices, and public establishments. What’s more, auto-play on mute is a widespread trend on social media platforms. Captions can considerably improve the experience of these videos and help audiences understand the content of the videos without sound.

Having adept captions within your videos can help position your content higher on web indexes and search engines.

Improve Language Skills

Captions can play a great role in learning and improving your language abilities. Though not necessarily a surefire strategy to comprehend a foreign language, learning a language in lifelike situations through video content can definitely assist you.

According to research by the National Institute of Health, captions can help ESL students incorporate learning cognizance, acknowledgment, and maintenance when it comes to learning another language. For example, from the well-known Korean group, BTS, the lead singer, RM, has attested to learning English through watching the television sitcom “Friends” and using captions.

Boost Search Engine Ranking

Having adept captions within your videos can help position your content higher on web indexes and search engines. Through massive search engines such as Google and YouTube, your videos can be made to be more searchable and discoverable by audiences. In essence, your videos can become simpler to discover because of the wealth of information and video data that captions can provide for the content of your media.

Improve Understanding of Technical Vocabulary

Adding captions can add lucidity to your content. This is especially important for specialized language, brand name, or industry vernacular. If audiences do not understand the language being used, captions can provide the necessary clarity for watchers to appreciate and realize the content they were watching.

Understand Foreign Accents and Background Noise

With a lot going on throughout a video, captions can help audiences understand what is going on despite any background noise or side effects that are occurring. This is also true for foreign and difficult to understand accents as audiences can read along with the speaker to fully grasp the content of the video.

Increase Literacy and Comprehension Rate

Students can benefit significantly from captions. They can have the added benefit of reading while listening and giving data textually and using video is much more engaging for students. In students’ early years, utilizing captions while watching any form of video can maximize the exposure of reading and improve literacy and comprehension.

Group Of Students Using Computers In College Library

Provide Accessibility for Everyone

Accessibility is the most notable advantage of captioning. No matter the form of video, captions can make video content more accessible for a wider audience. With captions, audiences can access videos from any location. This includes sound-sensitive environments for all audiences as well as literally any location for those with hearing impairments or disabilities.

Captions significantly enhance the experience of watching videos for many people. This is especially true for those with hearing impairments, however, even those without disabilities can benefit greatly from captions. Overall, captioning videos has many benefits that can assist audiences as well as organizations who elect to use them effectively.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog from one one of our technology integration partners, cielo24 Learn more about how to integrate human-based captioning services to the YuJa Enterprise Video Platform.

Case Study: Belhaven Looks for Video CMS to Support Robust Online Program

“It was a nightmare trying to find the videos and get them in the right place. So I began a process of trying to find out what we could do to find a solution. We tested products, and at the end of the test, we felt YuJa best met our needs.”

At Belhaven University, course material is designed and prepared in-house for instructors.

Every seven weeks, approximately 180 to 300 sections are launched and taught by hundreds of adjunct instructors. Each course has a number of videos associated with it – anywhere from a handful to dozens, depending on the course – which are recorded on campus and uploaded to YuJa.

Behind the scenes is Dr. Rick Upchurch, who serves as Associate Vice President of Adult, Graduate, and Online Studies.

Read the full Case Study here

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