Liberated Learning Consortium Announces Nuance Joining the Effort to Advance Information Accessibility in Higher Education through Speech Recognition

Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN) has joined the Liberated Learning Consortium, (LLC), an international group of technology providers, colleges and universities working to advance information accessibility in higher education through the use of speech recognition technology. Nuance Communications, the maker of Dragon NaturallySpeaking software, joins IBM as the second technology company to contribute expertise in support of the Consortium’s mission.

The Consortium was formed to support the diverse higher-education learning needs of people with disabilities by improving access to class lectures. Consortium partners - which include IBM, Nuance, Saint Mary's University (Canada), Purdue University, University of Massachusetts Boston, Macquarie University (Australia) , University of Southampton (UK) - research and develop platforms for speech recognition-based captioning and transcription of education media in support of the LLC mission.

“We continue to be incredibly fortunate in the support that we receive from the technology and educational communities,” said Keith Bain, international manager of the LLC. “Nuance in particular brings years of experience, deep research and technology assets in speech to the Consortium, which we know can only help to propel our research forward. The vision and collaboration that we share with companies such as Nuance - and all of our Consortium partners - are fantastic to see in action.”

Representing between 10-20 percent of all postsecondary students, higher education learners with various disabilities face significant challenges when it comes to capturing class notes or accessing information from class lectures. Many colleges and universities use volunteer note takers, but this is typically a very inefficient process, and also forces students with disabilities to rely on others. There are also outsourced services that can transcribe class lectures, however this is typically costly and inefficient. The rapid rise of online multimedia based courses further increases the need for technology solutions focused on accessibility.

The Consortium's aim through its research is to apply speech recognition technology to deliver real-time captioning and transcription of class lectures and other education media, to provide equal access to information for students of all abilities. In many countries, access to assistive technology in higher education is mandated by the government, and this is quickly becoming the norm around the world.

"Globally, access to higher education is a critical driver of economic growth, societal competitiveness and individual qualify of life," said Frances West, worldwide director of the IBM Human Ability & Accessibility Center. "As a founding member of the LLC, IBM remains focused on researching and developing advanced technology solutions that create fully inclusive and productive learning environments for students of all ages and abilities. We are delighted that Nuance will join us in this important endeavor."

“The Liberated Learning Consortium gives us the opportunity not only to work with some of the best and brightest minds from around to world; but also to apply our experience in speech and language understanding to further new technology developments that put education within reach of all students - regardless of ability.” said Peter Mahoney, senior vice president and general manager, Dragon, Nuance Communications. “Speech recognition technology has the potential to transform the learning process for so many people, and we are thrilled to support the Consortium in this endeavor.”

Current Consortium partners hail from every corner of the globe and include Algonquin College (Canada), Australian National University (Australia), Special Education College Beijing Union University (China) Hiroshima University (Japan), Landmark College (US), Macquarie University (Australia), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US), Purdue University (US), Saint Mary’s University (Canada), Trent University (Canada), Universita di Bologna (Italy), University of Massachusetts, Boston (US), University of Southampton (UK), University of the Sunshine Coast (Australia), Universität Ulm, (Germany). The LLC was founded by Saint Mary’s University and IBM Research through a Joint Study Agreement to respond to the increasing need (and mandates) for accessibility in higher education. Nuance has recently joined the LLC as a technology partner, and will work closely with IBM and the other Consortium partners to leverage innovative speech recognition solutions to support research and ultimately introduce new solutions for captioning and transcription of educational media.

Liberated Learning Consortium

The Liberated Learning Consortium is an international research network dedicated to advancing speech recognition technology and techniques to create and foster barrier-free learning environments to improve accessibility. The Liberated Learning Consortium conducts research and development on two interrelated applications:

  • Using speech recognition to automatically caption spoken language and display it as readable text
  • Using speech recognition to produce and disseminate accessible, multimedia transcripts

Consortium partners work collaboratively to find solutions to challenges, generate new knowledge, test, research and develop speech recognition technologies and actively raise public awareness about the Liberated Learning concept. For more information about the Consortium, including membership, please visit email: or call +1 902 496-8741.

About Nuance Communications, Inc

Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) is a leading provider of voice and language solutions for businesses and consumers around the world. Its technologies, applications and services make the user experience more compelling by transforming the way people interact with devices and systems. Every day, millions of users and thousands of businesses experience Nuance’s proven applications. For more information, please visit

Trademark reference: Nuance, Dragon, and the Nuance logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Nuance Communications, Inc. or its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. All other company names or product names referenced herein may be the property of their respective owners.


Media Contacts:
Erica Hill, 781-565-5218
InkHouse (for Nuance)
Linda Walsh, 781-966-4117

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