Dakota State University Grant to Educate Consumers on Voice-Recognition Software

A new grant from the Larson Family Foundation could eventually help consumers with mobility disabilities to more easily communicate, which could in turn facilitate their earning college degrees.

The grant, worth nearly $24,000 and awarded to Dakota State University in Madison, S.D., will be used to educate consumers about voice-recognition software use.

Chris Olson, assistant professor in the college of business and information systems, said the grant "will be used to create a series of narrated video tutorials that show users with physical impairments or disabilities how to use a computer by utilizing voice recognition software.... The users would gain college credit and the proficiencies needed to operate a computer by voice in order to complete subsequent college courses and earn a college degree."

In a news announcement, Dakota State University said the grant would benefit "quadriplegics, disabled war veterans, amputees and those with neurological disorders that affect upper-limb mobility that may find it difficult or impossible to use a keyboard and mouse to control a computer."

The announcement added that people with those types of disabilities are typically at high risk for unemployment.

The new funding will build upon an existing Web site called "Increasing Access to Online Education Using Speech recognition Software." The site was created earlier this year by Olson and Jack Walters, another Dakota State Universty professor.

The Larson Family Foundation is a non-profit organization created in 1990 by Dale Larson, CEO and president of a manufacturing company that made storm doors and windows. Grants from the organization are Larson's way of giving back to the communities instrumental in the company's success, the foundation has said.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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