Video Accessibility & Captioning

Why is Video Accessibility & Captioning Important?

You may be wondering why accessibility matters. Cornell University Counsel has established guidelines to ensure that all course content is compliant with ADA accessibility requirements. In addition to legal requirements, universal design for learning creates a better learning experience for all students. The universal design process provides a way to create instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone. Instructors should ensure that multimedia content used outside the classroom for instruction is accessible.

To ensure your course content is ADA compliant, you will need to add captions to video content. A common assumption is often that only people with hearing difficulties need captions. However, captions also benefit people who are not native speakers of the language used in the video or who are unfamiliar with the vocabulary used in a discipline. Captions also make it possible to conduct interactive searches within the video.

Considerations for Accessibility & Captioning

As the content owner, you are responsible for captioning for video and multimedia. You are also responsible for ensuring the accessibility of any content you use, even if you did not create it. It is recommended that you work with a professional service to transcribe and caption your videos—they will work from your video to produce the caption file. If you choose to do it yourself, obtaining the transcript will be the biggest effort. If you are working from a script, use that to get started. Another option is automated speech to text which is available from various sources (including, Zoom, Kaltura, and Panopto). Automatic captions are usually not accurate enough for ADA compliance, but editing these captions is often much quicker than transcribing the material yourself.

Getting Started with Accessibility & Captioning

Student Disability Services (SDS) provides captioning services for qualified students with disabilities (primarily Deaf/Hard of Hearing). If using video content in a course in which captioning is needed, please contact the SDS office for assistance.  Contact the Center for more information on video accessibility & captioning or explore the Resource Library items on your own.

CIT offers assistance with connecting to third party vendors who provide human captioning services.  Please visit their website for more information.