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How Are Other Schools Handling Captioning?

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    If you work in disability services, video production, or IT procurement in higher education, you might be curious about what other schools are doing when it comes to video captioning.

    How much are they spending on it? How much video content do they produce? Do they have official guidelines or prioritization procedures when it comes to captioning?
    87 perent of insititutions caption at least some of their video content
    At the end of 2016, in collaboration with the Ecampus Research Unit at Oregon State University (OSU), we released a report based on our nationwide survey focusing on those questions and others about how institutions in higher ed are handling the captioning of their video content.

    We’ve pulled a few highlights from the report to satisfy your collective curiosity and keep you up to date on major video captioning trends in higher ed.

    Captioning Budgets

    While nearly half of respondents were not sure what their captioning budget was, we did see quite the range.

    Of 52.6% of schools that did have a budget, almost a third of those respondents (15.8%) have a captioning budget somewhere between $10,000 and $50,000.

    captioning budgets of surveyed institutions ranging from 0 to 50,000 dollars per year

    Here’s the breakdown of responses to our question asking which department houses that captioning budget:

    • Academic Affairs: 7.9%
    • Disability Services: 31.6%
    • Information Technology: 13.2%
    • Multiple departments: 21.1%
    • Other: 13.2%
    • I don’t know: 13.2%

    Video Creation and Posting Guidelines

    We asked whether any institutional guidelines exist for the creation and posting of videos in face-to-face (in person) and online course, and for institutional videos (e.g. marketing videos, or public-facing, non-course-related videos).

    From the chart below, it’s pretty clear that many respondents were not sure about their institutions’ approach to publishing video content outside of academic purposes. We can also see that slightly more institutions do not have creation and publishing guidelines for any kind of video.

    Chart: Do Video Guidelines Exist for Various Purposes?

    Captioning Prioritization

    QUIZ: What Captioning Laws Apply to You?

    QUIZ: What Captioning Laws Apply to You?

    Take this quick quiz to see which laws may require you to add captions to video.

    With limited budgets and resources, disability service offices and other entities that are responsible for captioning videos will usually prioritize videos for captioning based on a predetermined reason.

    We gave schools the opportunity to select the reasons they prioritize a video for captioning. The most common reason respondents gave was that they caption videos by request, followed closely by “Based on whether there exists a need to create equivalent access.”

    Some schools stated that they caption all of their video content (10.6% of respondents).

    Others based their video captioning priorities on reasons like how the video will be used (e.g. public-facing, online, or in a classroom), course enrollment numbers, the popularity of a video, or simply “how much the budget will permit.”

    Video captioning prioritization chart by reason

    Reasons for Not Captioning

    Our survey also asked participants to select the reasons they were not captioning all videos at their institution, as is required by law. Participants were also given the option to write out their response. Both written and chosen responses were compiled and categorized by reason and are listed in the chart below.

    Most responses point to internal, or institutional barriers to captioning. Some people also mentioned external barriers, such as pricing and lack of understanding about the laws, but no real patterns were identified in those responses.

    top ten reasons for not captioning video content

    The number one type of answer mentioned a lack of general awareness on campus as the main barrier to captioning.

    Many respondents expressed that the message doesn’t always get across to faculty and administrators that captioning is a necessity when creating and posting videos at their institution. As one respondent put it:

    Lack of knowledge that, for public-facing media, it’s the LAW. [It’s the] perception that captioning must be done by the faculty member himself/herself, and that it is time-consuming and only applies to a small number of students with hearing disabilities… [It’s also the] lack of knowledge about captioning standards (e.g., DMCP captioning key). Lack of knowledge about 3rd-party options for outsourcing some of all of captioning tasks.

    Interestingly, while so many respondents expressed that they were struggling to implement comprehensive video captioning at their institution for one reason or another, all seemed to understand that their institution still really should be captioning all of its video content. As can be seen from the chart above, no respondents selected the option, “This is not a genuine need at our institution,” or expressed any similar sentiment in their comments.

    Want to learn more about how other schools are handling captioning? Click on the link below for a free download of the full report, Implementation of and Solutions for Closed Captioning in U.S. Institutions of Higher Education:

    Download the full report

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