Online Court Reporting

 
Rachelle Cahoon is a student from College of Court Reporting in Hobart, Indiana, and is currently doing her internship with various court and deposition reporters. She welcomes further questions about online court reporting education and internship opportunities with reporters in the Treasure Valley at racahoon@gmail.com.

As a court reporting student from an online school, working reporters frequently ask me the same question: “How in the world do you do it? I can’t imagine doing this kind of schooling online.”

Well, having never done it any other way, it’s hard for me to compare. But I can tell you that online court reporting education is here to stay, and it plays an important role in producing enough court reporters to keep up with demand. Online programs are now producing one out of every four new court reporters, so it is important for professionals in this field to understand that, while different from the “traditional” method of producing court reporters, an online program can produce qualified court reporters who are ready to enter the workforce.

Included below are some frequently asked questions about online court reporting education programs.

 
Q: How many students are enrolled in online court reporting programs?

A: According to the “2010 Certified Realtime Reporting Programs’ & Participating Programs’ Annual Report” since 2002, the first year online court reporting education was offered in the United States, the total number of students enrolled has grown from 15 students to 1,945 students. As of 2010, 25% of all court reporting students in the United States were enrolled in an online program.

 
Q: How do students interact with teachers and other students at an online school?

A: A court reporter mentioned to me that she really needed the daily interaction with other students and teachers during her schooling in order to remain motivated and encouraged. One distinct disadvantage to an online court reporting program could be the possibility of not having that personal interaction. This is one area where online court reporting programs vary widely. I know students who have gone to online schools where teachers contact them infrequently. However, those students eventually transferred to my school, which considers interaction between students and instructors to be vital. At College of Court Reporting, students interact with instructors multiple times a week through live speedbuilding classes, instructor feedback on assignments, and feedback on tests. Instructors use voice messages, e-mail, phone calls, and discussion boards to stay in close communication with each student. Students are also able to interact with each other before and after class on the class’s chat board, through a community discussion forum, and through e-mails.

 
Q: How do speedbuilding classes work online?

A: Students can attend live speedbuilding classes online. Teachers use a webcam to make themselves visible to students and have a whiteboard where they post the speedbuilding plan and preview words for that day’s class. When it is time for readback of a speedbuilding take, students are able to turn on their microphones and read back their notes to the class. Students communicate with both the instructor and other students through a chat box. Instructors ask for feedback throughout the class to gauge how students are doing. One advantage to an online program is that classes are easily recorded and archived, so a student can access recordings if they cannot attend the live classes.

 
Q: What other classes do online court reporting students take?

A: This is another area where online court reporting programs vary, but at my particular school, we take many courses to prepare us for our career. These include classes on English grammar and punctuation, legal and medical terminology, court reporting procedures, transcript preparation, current events, and CAT software.

 
Q: How do students take tests online?

A: While speedbuilding tests are offered in our live classes at midterms and finals, our particular program also offers a huge library of recorded tests that a student may take at any time of day or night. After students take a test and transcribe it, they are able to submit it and receive immediate results along with a copy of the test that shows exactly where the student made mistakes. This is very helpful to students because they are able to evaluate things they did well and what type of errors they made.

 
Q: Are students of online court reporting programs prepared to enter the workforce once they graduate?

A: As with all educational programs, this varies widely between schools. However, by the time a student has reached exit speeds at College of Court Reporting, they are using their software to translate realtime, have produced dozens of mock transcripts, and have completed an internship of 60 hours or more.

 
Online court reporting programs have married the advantages of technology with the traditional model of court reporting education, providing the opportunity of a court reporting education to anyone with an internet connection. As traditional court reporting schools continue to close their doors, online programs are becoming an important way to fill the gap and produce the court reporters of the next generation.