Stand 4: SignMedia: Innovative Learning for Deaf Media Professionals

The world of broadcast media offers an increasingly rich source of employment for deaf graduates and professionals across Europe. However, the focus on communication through written English can prove to be a barrier for sign language users (Fleming, 2006). The SignMedia project aims to break down these barriers with an innovative and accessible online learning resource that teaches elements of industry-specific English through Sign Language video and interactive tasks.

The online learning tool is accessible for users of British, Austrian and Italian Sign Language. It is designed primarily for deaf media professionals, but has clear benefits for deaf media students and other sign language users who wish to develop their written English at an intermediate level. Hearing people with a professional or personal interest in sign languages can also benefit from an extensive Sign Language glossary of Media terminology – the first of its kind.
All learning activities are designed around authentic media documentation taken from the production process, such as Risk Assessments, Call Sheets, Treatments and Scripts, thus enabling Deaf users to develop language skills that are directly transferrable to their place of work.

The SignMedia project recognises the immense potential of combining the shared visual modalities of e-learning, media and Sign Language. The result is a product that uses contemporary media developments to reflect the vibrancy, creativity and professional aspirations of the deaf community.



Christine Jolly, University of Wolverhampton, UK
Christine Jolly works in the Institute of Media Arts at the University of Wolverhampton. She has been a Senior Lecturer within the Deaf Studies and Interpreting Department for 8 years, teaching language and theory to a diverse range of deaf and hearing adult learners. Christine is experienced in curriculum development, including "Sign-in- School”, a teaching and learning project within West Midlands secondary schools. She has presented papers on aspects of e-learning at various conferences and has designed online British Sign Language materials used interactively by deaf and hearing students.

Before joining the team, Christine was a Drama practitioner touring mainland Europe, organising and performing theatrical productions for schools, prisons and community centres. She has experience in directing productions and running drama workshops for adults and young people. Christine is currently Senior Researcher and Material Developer on the SignMedia Leonardo Development of Innovation project, creating an online learning resource for Deaf media professionals.