Captions are text versions of any dialogue presented within multimedia and allow the content of web audio and video to be accessible to those who cannot hear the audio. Advanced planning is crucial to making both instructional and non-instructional multimedia accessible in a timely manner.
- Universal Access: Design your content from the ground up to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible. Captioning is a key element of Universal Design for video material, especially for educational materials. Captioning provides an alternative channel of information and allows a larger community of viewers to have access.
- Improving Comprehension: Captioning improves comprehension for all viewers, especially for those with English as a second language. Noise or distractions in the listening environment, underdeveloped English skills on the part of the listener, or heavy accents on the part of the talker all work to deteriorate the message being communicated. Captioning can improve comprehension in all cases.
- Executive Order 1111 makes it a policy of the CSU to make information technology resources and services accessible to all CSU students, faculty, staff and the general public regardless of disability.
- Indexing and Searching: Because captioning involves the synchronization of text content with audio-video material, especially in digital format, it allows the content to become easily searchable with traditional text searches. This allows viewers to have rapid access to the parts of the content they need. This is particularly important for educational materials.
If using audio files in your course (podcasts, recordings, etc.), it is important to include a transcript of the audio for students with hearing disabilities. Transcripts convert the speech in the audio file into written text. This also helps improve comprehension for all students, especially for those with English as a second language.
How do I make my Multimedia accessible?
We've provided some resources below that can assist in ensuring your multimedia is accessible to all. If you need further guidance or would like to use the DPRC's Captioning Service, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Outside of direct classroom accommodations, departments and auxiliaries may incur costs for this service in certain circumstances. DPRC will contact you if your department or auxiliary unit may incur fees.
Video Caption Resources
- Best Practices and Guidelines for captioning videos (DCMP)
- Captioning Your Own Video for Free (University of Washington)
Audio Transcription Resources
- Transcribe your recordings in Microsoft Word online (limits apply)
- Free automatic transcripts in Otter.ai (limits apply)