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How Many Students Use Closed Captions and Transcripts?

  • female student using a tablet on a lawn

    Educators often go to great lengths to transcribe and caption their lecture videos. This is necessary to accommodate students with disabilities who may require captions or transcripts to gain full access to the material.

    A captioning research study from Oregon State University examined exactly how students use closed captions and video transcripts when they are available. Do students without disabilities use them, too?

    How Many Students Make Use of Closed Captions & Transcripts?

    Respondents in the OSU study were asked how often they use closed captions and transcripts when they are available.

    How Often Did You Use Closed Captions When They Were Available? never: 26.00%; seldom: 20.10%; sometimes: 19.00%; often: 17.10%; always: 17.80%. How Often Did You Use Closed Captions When They Were Available? never: 55.50%; seldom: 12.70%; sometimes: 13.20%; often: 8.70%; always: 10.00%

    In response to the question about closed captions, 34.9% noted that they “always” or “often” use closed captions when they are available. In response to that same question, 26% said they never use them.

    In the case of transcripts, 18.7% noted that they “always” or “often” use transcripts when they are available; 55.5% said that they never use transcripts when they are available.

    As a percentage of the whole, more of the respondents used closed captions when they were available than used transcripts when they were available.

    Which Students Use Closed Captions & Transcripts?

    The percentage of respondents who “always” or “often” use closed captions when they are available was higher for:

    • students with other disabilities (41.1%)
    • ESL students (44.1%)
    • students registered with an Office of Disability Services (44.8%)
    • students with academic accommodations (48.2%)
    • students who have difficulty with hearing (50.3%)

    The percentage of respondents who “always” or “often” use transcripts when they are available was higher for:

    • students with other disabilities (21.5%)
    • students who “always” or “often” have trouble maintaining focus (21.8%)
    • ESL students (22.6%), adult learners (22.7%)
    • students with learning disabilities (22.8%)
    • students registered with an Office of Disability Services (24%)
    • students who have difficulty with visual representations (26.6%)
    • students receiving academic accommodation (27%)
    • students who have with difficulty hearing (28%)

    The percentage of respondents who “always” or “often” use transcripts when they are available was lower for students under the age of 25 (16.7%) and first generation students (17.2%).

    For more on the research study findings, click the image below to download your copy of the full report.

    Download the research study results on student uses and perceptions of closed captions & transcripts

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