Our website and learning management system allow us to engage students and other users through interactive content such as audio and video.
Provide a text transcript of the audio information that can be rendered into an accessible format via assistive technology.
Provide audio that describes the important video content and describe it as such.
Videos must be captioned before they are shown in the classroom for the first time. It is possible to purchase videos that do not have captions, but uncaptioned videos are to be captioned before they are shown in the classroom for the first time, i.e., before they become required course materials.
Section 508 (c) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
All training and informational video and multimedia productions which support the agency’s mission, regardless of format, that contain speech or other audio information necessary for the comprehension of the content, shall be open or closed captioned.
Do you have to caption everything? There are a few exceptions.
“Raw Footage” Is Exempt
Raw footage is defined as materials that are for a single, restricted use and are not archived. An example might be student videos. The students would not need to caption their work. Another example might be a longer video from which only clips will be taken. If the compendium of clips is archived and reused, then that would need to be captioned; however, the original from which the clips were taken would not need to be.
Restricted-Access Materials May Be Exempt
When a video will be shown only to a restricted set of users and none of those users require captions, you do not need to caption. An example might be a password-protected class in which a video specifically for that class is shown. Please note that if the video is meant to be a permanent part of the class term after term, then this exemption no longer applies as you do not know who might be taking the class in the future.
Transcripts alone are not sufficient for video. Whenever you have pictures and sound, then the captioned text and video must be synchronized. Imagine if the speaker says, “Never mix these two ingredients,” and you do not know what is being shown on the screen! Transcripts are fine for audio-only podcasts, however, as there is no picture with which to synchronize the text.
A Word About Captions and Foreign Languages
Subtitles on foreign films are not the same as captions, but for classroom purposes, they are usually sufficient.
Captions are always done in the language spoken in the video. As an example, Spanish language videos would be captioned in Spanish, not English. You are not required to provide translations. Unless the hearing students in the class are expected to be able to understand the Spanish language with no additional support, there is no reason to have this foreign language video captioned.
Captions do differ from subtitles in that captions include all auditory content, not just speech. Subtitles are designed for a hearing audience, so they do not include any information about sound other than speech. Slamming doors, barking dogs, laughter, etc. are all included in the text descriptions in captions.
Closed captions are turned on and off with a “decoder.” Televisions (since the ’80s) have decoders built in; however, not all overhead projectors have decoders and not all computer software plays captions. Windows Media Player, Real Player, and QuickTime all have the capability to play captions. Just like with your television set, however, the captions must be turned on to be viewed.
Information provided by @One.