More than 35,000,000 people in the U.S. alone report some degree of hearing loss which could make it impossible for them to follow the soundtrack of a video without captions. Many people who do hear have cognitive challenges that make it hard for them to assimilate information presented audibly. Also, some of your students will be non-native speakers of English and captions will make it much easier for them to comprehend your presentations. Finally, captioning allows viewers to search your videos for keywords, allowing them to pinpoint sequences of interest within the complete video.
All faculty, whether they teach online or on campus, are required to meet the State and Federal requirements for ensuring accessibility of all course materials. All courses must be accessible regardless of whether or not a disabled student is currently enrolled. This means that all videos must be captioned and all audio materials must be accompanied by a transcript.
The Basic Steps
The process of captioning consists of two stages: the first, transcription of the soundtrack into a text file, is by far the most time-consuming. Think of this as the written script of the soundtrack of the video. Once this is accomplished, insertion of the text captions into the video in sync with the video action is relatively quick and simple. This second syncing process is what allows the text to be displayed at the correct time interval of the video, so that the audio is played at the same time that the text gets displayed.
The DECT Grant
Obviously, the easiest way to solve this issue is to have a professional provider do the captioning for you! Indeed, California Community College faculty have access to the Distance Education Captioning and Transcription (DECT) grant funds for this purpose. If you would like to take advantage of the DECT Grant funds for captioning your videos, please submit the Request for Captioning Form to the SDCCD Online Learning Pathways Team. In the event, however, that you do not qualify for these funds (not a California Community College faculty member), funds run short, or you simply desire the quick response, convenience and flexibility of captioning your own videos, you can do this yourself.
Doing Your Own Captioning
Canvas Studio, YouTube, and 3C Media all have captioning functionality that can be used to make your instructional media accessible to students. We'll cover these in more detail on the individual pages for those tools.
Captioning in Canvas Studio
Canvas Studio has an automated captioning process which transcribes and syncs the captions automatically for you, and can be used as an excellent starting point. You can edit the machine-generated captions inside Canvas Studio (for your own videos) to make them more accurate. If you have a text transcript of the audio, you can upload the transcript file, and the syncing process of a manually generated transcript (text file) is done automatically by Canvas Studio. Check out the Studio captioning page for more specific captioning tutorials.
Captioning in YouTube
YouTube has an automated captioning process which transcribes and syncs the captions automatically for you, and can be used as an excellent starting point. You can edit the machine-generated captions inside YouTube (for your own videos) to make them more accurate. If you have a text transcript of the audio, you can upload the transcript file, and the syncing process of a manually generated transcript (text file) is done automatically by YouTube. Check out the YouTube page for more specific captioning tutorials.
Captioning with 3C Media
The DECT Captioning Grant offers funding to faculty, staff, and administrators of the CCC's for captioning of educational media. 3C Media Solutions (TechConnect Cloud) is in partnership with DECT and provides the service thru the 3C Media Solutions’ (TechConnect Cloud) website. To request captions for your video or audio file thru 3C Media Solutions (TechConnect Cloud), simply follow these steps once you have an 3C Media account:
- From your "My Media" tab, click the "Details & Options" link to the right of the media you want captions for
- Under "Tools", click on "Submit the Media for Captioning"
- Fill out and submit the form
How to Upload into 3CMedia (12:35): https://www.3cmediasolutions.org/node/19487
General Captioning Tips
- Microphone quality: You will likely get better results from the auto-transcription engines when using a better quality microphone. Here's one good one we have used: http://amzn.to/UKcaft.
- Using proper sentence structure: Another way to get better results form the auto-transcription engines is to use proper sentence structure and grammar in your recordings. This can be difficult to do in our normal speech patterns, but it does improve performance when it comes to the auto-transcription processes.
- Using a script: One way to make the captioning process easier is to write out the script before doing the recording. The transcription step, then, is taken care of and it's just a matter of syncing it to the video afterwards. This can also be a good way to ensure that you cover everything that you need to in your videos, while keeping it short and focused. You can take the script one step further and use it with the teleprompter included in the Personal Video Studio equipment, making it easier to maintain eye contact with the camera while reading your script.
- Find a Workflow for You: You may find that you have several options when it comes to recording and captioning your instructional media. Don't let this be overwhelming. Find a workflow that you are comfortable with and that works well for you.
Please feel free to contact SDCCD Online Learning Pathways for questions regarding captioning your instructional media.