Press Release

Leading Academic Video Platform Brings Power of Machine Learning to the Classroom, Making Video Content Inclusive and Accessible

Release Date: April 9, 2018

Echo360 leverages Amazon Transcribe automated speech recognition (ASR) technology to bring smarter search, greater student engagement, and a pathway to effective and affordable captioning for all academic video, designed to comply with strict global standards on data security.

RESTON, Va.April 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Echo360, a leading video platform for education, announced today a collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), to integrate Amazon Transcribe within the Echo360 video platform to convert audio recordings into viewable, searchable text.

“We are proud of this collaboration with Echo360 as it provides an exciting opportunity to meet the unique needs of today’s students, and support institutions who are innovating to encourage deeper engagement and active learning,” said Swami Sivasubramanian, Vice President of Machine Learning, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “This solution will allow us to provide high-quality transcripts that make learning assets more valuable and accessible to students.”

Using this service, transcripts from educational sessions can be created automatically and seamlessly integrated into the Echo360 virtual classroom, where they can be viewed alongside video content. Amazon Transcribe is also able to detect different speakers in the audio to produce intelligible transcriptions (“who spoke when”). Each transcript can then be aligned with the video based on the timestamps provided by Amazon Transcribe. This rich flow of metadata is designed to greatly enhance search capabilities, enabling students to quickly find key phrases in videos and navigate directly to them. Text from transcriptions can also be easily copied and used in student notes and study guides to enhance class review. And while Amazon Transcribe delivers proven accuracy, the resulting text can be further edited to fully comply with minimum accessibility standards to effectively support students with disabilities. Amazon Transcribe makes this easy by providing confidence scores for each word.

“Video-based learning provides today’s students with engaging learning experiences during class as well as outside the traditional classroom,” said Paul Foster, assistant vice president for enterprise academic technology at the University of Cincinnati. “Because making course content fully accessible to all learners is one of the top priorities of the University of Cincinnati, the collaboration between AWS and Echo360 is a very exciting development. It gives us the unprecedented ability to quickly transcribe instructional speech to text, which enables all students to more deeply engage with course lectures and discussions after class.”

Powered by deep learning technology, Amazon Transcribe continually learns and improves as it transcribes new content. Since AWS processes its transcriptions in the same regions that host the Echo360 platform, all data is kept in region, for better compliance with international data security and privacy laws.

“Our platform is designed to provide students with active, engaged, and personalized video-based learning at any time on any device,” said Fred Singer, CEO of Echo360. “We believe automatic speech recognition represents a major step forward in making it easier for all types of learners to access the specific content they are looking for, and we’re excited to work with AWS to make solutions like this broadly available to students globally.”

Upon rollout of these new capabilities within the Echo360 platform, customers will be provided with a significant quota of automated transcription hours as part of their existing license agreement. Institutions will also have the ability to purchase additional transcription at a very minimal hourly rate. The company plans to begin rolling out these new capabilities in the coming months.

About Echo360: Echo360 believes that improved outcomes start with great moments in the classroom. Developed by educators, Echo360 helps instructors record and extend those moments to improve student engagement through personalized video-based learning before, during, and after class. Through our smarter video platform for education, students and faculty have 24/7 access to classroom discussion, presentation materials, and the lecture itself. We generate data that helps instructors and institutions identify problems early and take action. Today, Echo360 technologies are used by over 3M students in 11,000 classrooms at 750 institutions across 30 countries. Echo360 is backed by Revolution Growth led by Steve Case, Ted Leonsis, and Donn Davis.