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Video Accessibility: Best Practices for Teaching and Learning


MEYTAL BURSTEIN: Hello, and thank you all for joining our webinar today. The webinar is going to discuss video accessibility and the best practices for teaching and learning. We are very happy to have Nicole from Regis University and Jason from University of Florida to discuss their cases and how video accessibility has contributed to their university. We also have Josh Miller from 3Play Media, who is going to do a brief intro of 3Play Media’s solution for video accessibility. And we have Luda Ruditsky from Kaltura who will present briefly on the advantages of using Kaltura to manage your online video in your environment.

If you have any questions throughout the webinar, please feel free to post them through the question tool, and we will get to them at the end during the Q&A session. And we’re also recording this session. So if for some reason you can’t stay for the entire session, or you would like to share it with your friends, then we will send you a link of the recording in just a few days. Again, thank you all for joining, and Josh, please take it away.

3Play Media Overview

JOSH MILLER: Great. Thanks, Meytal. So I’m Josh Miller. I’m one of the co-founders of 3Play Media, where we focus on providing premium quality solutions for captioning and transcription. Our goal is to eliminate barriers and simplify the workflow as much as possible. So this is why we’ve integrated our services and tools with video platforms, including Kaltura. So as a Kaltura user, the process for adding captions has really never been easier, as you can now initiate a captioning request from your Kaltura account and have captions sent back to the right place automatically as soon as they’re ready.

In addition to closed captions, we provide plugins that tie in to the video player and make your video searchable and more engaging. Users can now search through a video and jump to an exact point. They can even create and share clips, all from that synchronized text that we’ve already created. And there’s no additional cost to use these tools.

Ultimately, we aim to make the process as user friendly and unobtrusive as possible. And we’ve built several other tools to make the workflow easier, including the ability to caption text and pre-load specialized vocabulary. So that’s a little bit about us. I’m going to hand it over to Luda, who’s going to talk a little bit about the Kaltura solution.

Kaltura Overview

Luda Ruditsky: Hello, everyone. My name is Luda Ruditsky. I’m director of project management in Technology Partners program at Kaltura. I’m going to provide you with a brief introduction to Kaltura and the education products we offer. Kaltura is the first and only open source online video platform. Our platform includes media management applications and a framework for developing any custom applications.

Over 150,000 web publishers, educational institutions, media companies, and enterprises use Kaltura to enhance their websites with video. We have over 40,000 developers in our community, and it’s rapidly growing. Kaltura Exchange is our unique video solutions marketplace and partners ecosystem where partner companies market and sell their solutions and services related to Kaltura.

You can see here some of our selected education customers. Speaking about Kaltura education building blocks. Starting from the bottom of this diagram, it’s important to mention our deployment options, which include saas, on-prem, or any combination of both. The heart of the Kaltura platform is our technology core wrapped with 100 REST-based API. Using the API, we have integrated with multiple third-party systems. You can also integrate Kaltura technology services into your environment and give it your own look and feel.

In respect to the Kaltura Applications, I would like to mention out-of-the-box applications for the LMS platforms like Blackboard, Sakai, Moodle, Desire2Learn. Media Space application, with which you can create your own out-of-the-box video portal. In the management app, we provide you with Kaltura Management Console, where you can manage and publish your media through one intuitive interface. We also offer multiple video authoring tools, webcam recording, PowerPoint presentation widgets, simple uploader widgets, screencasting recorders, mobile capture apps, and many, many others.

To summarize, there are flexible options to jump start your video experience. You can select your core Kaltura platform features and then add dedicated applications to serve your specific video needs on the campus. Let’s take a quick look at the Kaltura partners ecosystem for education. Each of our ecosystem partners provide a technology, product, or service that complements Kaltura. Some of the partner services include lecture capture, remote learning, closed captioning, security and DRM systems, advanced video editing, and many, many others.

Video accessibility is an extremely important service required in education and corporate e-learning. At Kaltura, we are proud to partner with 3Play Media, who provide high-quality closed captions and interactive transcripts. You can learn more about 3Play Media integration with Kaltura by going to the Kaltura Exchange, our video solutions marketplace, at exchange.kaltura.com. Or you may content Josh or myself at the contact info that we will provide at the end of this webinar. Saying that, I’m going to turn it over to Nicole, who is going to share her video accessibility journey experiences with 3Play Media and Kaltura.

Presentation by Nicole Croy from Regis University

NICOLE CROY: Thank you, Luda. As Luda said, I’m an e-learning technologist in the Department of Learning Design in the College of Professional Studies here at Regis University. And I just wanted to start by quickly thanking Kaltura and 3Play Media for inviting me to participate in this webinar. I hope through sharing our video accessibility journey with others, you’re able to gain some helpful insight.

So first, I’d like to just give you a brief overview of the Department of Learning Design. We are responsible for the instructional design and development of all online courses within the College for Professional Studies. We work in collaboration with faculty to create enterprise-level, online, and blended courses. We currently have 465 courses online, and roughly of those, 60% contain at least one video.

I don’t know about most of you, but when we began researching web accessibility, we ran into a ton of conflicting information. It seems most of the information on accessibility requirements and law in regards to online multimedia, there’s a particular person or group’s interpretation. Some groups state that the law requires to always provide accessible content, while others lean on this side of accessibility only needs to be done when a request is officially filed by a disabled learner. In the College of Professional Studies, we feel we have a duty to make all required course materials accessible to all learners.

So about a year ago, we adopted a college level accessibility policy to guide our course development and assure that we are fulfilling this duty. Our policy was shaped around the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines— WCAG 2.0 version, which covers a wide range of recommendations for making web content more accessible. If you’re looking to develop your own policy or to get more information on accessibility guidelines, I would recommend reviewing these guidelines on the W3C’s website and also looking into Web Accessibility in Mind, which is also known as WebAIM, which is an initiative from the Center for Persons With Disabilities in Utah State University. Both of these sites are great resources, and I’ve provided links here to the specific areas of their websites that address video and captioning.

Now, many interpret the WCAG to state that a text transcript alone is sufficient for accessibility requirements. We tend to disagree. Section 508 affirms “an equivalent experience for all users.” We believe that to mean learners should be able to follow the dialogue in a video as it occurs, which is not possible with an external text transcript. Thus, our policy states all multimedia files have synchronized captions and/or provide transcripts for media. This means we are working to provide closed captioning for all required videos in our courses.

Now, I’m sure many of you out there that have worked with video captioning are thinking, what a nightmare to provide closed captioning for all those videos. Well, before utilizing Kaltura and 3Play Media, this was a very daunting task that required numerous work hours. Our pre-Kaltura process relied on a proprietary caption player.

While this video format and player had the ability to deliver captioned video, it was incompatible with some learners’ environments, especially Mac users. We were receiving numerous tech support calls on various videos throughout the course term. In addition, students were required to download and maintain the latest version of the player, which also generated tech support calls.

Not only did this format create tech support issues, the process for captioning was very cumbersome. First, the video file was uploaded to our streaming server. Then it was uploaded to our transcript vendor server. A request for transcription was made.

Three to four days later, we would receive an email stating transcription was complete. We would log into the vendor’s website, download the transcript and caption files, and then upload those files back to our streaming server where we could then code the HTML and embed in the course. As you can see, this process required numerous steps and relied on manual application by the e-learning technologist.

As the tech support incidents increased, we began to research different video delivery and captioning options. We launched a YouTube pilot using their voice-to-text transcription. In addition to some security and privacy issues, we also found the accuracy of the transcript was not accessible. Additional effort was needed to manually correct the text, which increased our development time and made this not a feasible option.

On a recommendation from our CIO, we began researching Kaltura and very quickly discovered how we could streamline our process and solve our tech support issues. With the integration of 3Play Media, our process now looks like this. We first upload the video file to Kaltura’s server. In the metadata, we assign a pre-established category of 3play, which automatically prompts the transcription request with 3Play.

We selected a pre-designed caption player, copy the embed code, and paste into the HTML page. In as little as eight hours, and at most two days, the caption file is automatically linked back to Kaltura, and the video is accessible. Pretty simple. The effort is minimal, almost more than half of the previous process.

With 3Play’s interactive transcript, learners experience a whole new level of usability. The transcripts are searchable, printable, and users are able to navigate to a specific point in this video. From universal design, we know many people simply learn better when information is presented in multiple sensory modes. So reading the captions while simultaneously listening and watching the video are very beneficial. And I’d just quickly like to demo this interactive transcript and show you how all of our learners are utilizing them.

This particular video is from one of our management courses, and it covers corporate social responsibility. The video contains interviews with three different CEOs discussing CSR initiatives at their respective companies. After viewing the video, the learner is asked to discuss which initiative they most related to in the forum.

With the interactive transcript, the learner can go into the transcript, locate the specific company that they’ve chosen to discuss in the forum, click on that name, and they are taken right to that point in the video. So if they need to be refreshed on what they previously heard, they need to grab a specific quote or piece of information for the forum posting, it’s right there. This is just one of many examples of how the interactive transcript is not only covering accessibility but also increasing usability for everyone.

So to conclude, with Kaltura and 3Play integration, we were able to increase usability and substantially streamline our development process. This has taken the burden of providing accessible video away. Video accessibility is one component of the course development process that we no longer have to worry about. It’s just what we do. So thank you for listening, and I look forward to answering your questions during the Q&A session. If you give me a moment, I’ll pass the presentation off to Jason with the University of Florida.

Presentation by Jason Neely from University of Florida

JASON NEELY: All right. Yes, my name is Jason Neely. I’m with the University of Florida. As you can see on the screen, I’m actually in the College of Education at the University of Florida. And as I’m sure you probably know, we are a huge university.

So we’re actually divvied up in various colleges, and we in the College of Education, we have our own online courses that we support. We provide instructional design to various faculty members and other instructors as well as our own tech support for our courses. And then we also collaborate and consult with other entities on outside projects.

Just some quick basics. My presentation is going to go a little bit differently. I think I’m going to focus on more of how we use video accessibility in our courses. And then I hope to show one of those features at the end of the presentation with a live demonstration.

So as you can see here, on our hosted Kaltura instance, we have over 800 videos. About 100 of those are transcribed. And then it’s actually kind of fuzzy here, but you can see these are our management console. In this upper area is the Kaltura management console. This is kind of the main area where we can navigate our videos and make edits and stuff like that. And then here is the management console for our 3Play videos to edit transcripts and that sort of thing.

So accessibility in our courses. Most of the videos used in our courses are transcribed. And what I mean by that is we focus on videos that are used from term to term, semester to semester. We have so many instructors that do narrated PowerPoint slides, and we just can’t keep up with that demand. So we focus on videos that are going to be used over and over again from each semester.

We also make adjustments or accommodations as are needed. So for example, we’ve had students in a class, there were these video presentations that the students were to do. Well, there was a student that was deaf and needed some accommodations made.

So what we did was we hired an ASL interpreter that watched the videos, and then we recorded the interpreter as she was interpreting the videos as the other students were presenting them. And then, in that way, those videos that the ASL interpreter could be played back for the student who was deaf so he could understand what was going on and being said in those video. So that’s one example of an accommodation that we make as needed.

So this is a screen shot here of the interactive transcript feature that Nicole just went over. So this is what our instance looks like. We have the video over here that is hosted with Kaltura. And then this is the transcript on this side that 3Play has transcribed for us. And we combine the two so students can search, do all kinds of interesting things with the interactive transcript.

And this screen shot here is actually a feature that is starting to get a lot more use within our institution. It’s the video resource functionality with Kaltura. It’s an integration of Kaltura and our learning management system, which is Moodle. And what this is here is the instructor’s, so they can have more of a presence in their online courses, a visual presence, is that they are able to record a video of themselves.

So what you’re seeing here is this instructor is updating the students in the course on various tidbits of information. She can describe to the students how they’re doing, give the overall assessment of what’s happening in a course. So that’s a feature that we are starting to use a lot more. So I’m going to take you through some of those steps right now.

So I believe that you all can see my screen here. This is just a blank course that we have in our learning management system. So the way that it works is that a teacher or instructor goes into their course. They are going to click Add a Resource and scroll down here to Video. And then they have to type in the pertinent information. I’m just going to say this is a live demo and hope that everything executes perfectly.

So then, they will move down to Add a Video. And then they can either upload a prerecorded video. If they have content that’s already on the Kaltura side that they’ve used in another course, they can access that by clicking on My Content. But what a lot of our instructors do here is actually just a live webcam.

So you can actually see me now. So what I’m going to do is just do a brief recording. So hello, everybody out there. This is a test of the video resource with the Kaltura and Moodle integration. So we will stop, then click Next, give it a quick title. And then we will click Next.

So actually, what’s happening now is the video is being uploaded directly to Kaltura. In my testing, I was able to test this, and the uploading happened as quick as 30 second. So hopefully, that’ll happen this time around. But basically, once the video is done uploading, it will be inserted directly into the course. And once that is finished, the students will be able to click on the video and play it back.

So this is it here. You can change the title if you need to. You can change the different skins. We actually use a darker skin in our courses and some various other features. And then I will just click OK. Then the video that I just recorded is placed directly in the course, and then I will Save and Display. And there the video is directly in the course.

So now, with some of the new features that 3Play just rolled out, I would be able to go directly into our 3Play instance and then upload this video directly to 3Play, who would then transcribe the video, and then it would be posted directly back into this course. So that’s what we’ve done with some previous courses for instructors who have used this feature and have had a student that needed the transcripts. So that is my demonstration, and I will pass it back to Meytal.


MEYTAL BURSTEIN: Thank you, all. I appreciate the very interesting presentations. We did have a great many questions we had, so thank you all for sending them over. We will begin with a couple of questions that came up for Nicole, the first one being, could you tell the audience which LMS you use at Regis University? And the other would be, could you repeat the address where you recommended to review accessibility policy guidelines?

NICOLE CROY: Sure. We are actually in the process of migrating LMSes. We are moving from Angel 7.4 into D2L– Desire2Learn. So we just recently piloted in D2L, and we will be full D2L come summer. And we will be launching the Kaltura-D2L integration this fall.

The second question, you can find the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines on the W3 website. And that website is www.w3.org. And they have a great search feature. You can just type in WCAG 2.0, and those guidelines will come up for you.

And then WebAIM can be found at webaim.org, no “www” before that. And WebAIM also has a really great active listserv that you can subscribe to, and you just occasionally get updates on different topics. So I highly recommend, if you’re looking into accessibility, that you check those two websites out.

MEYTAL BURSTEIN:Thank you, Nicole. Another question that came in for Josh from 3Play Media. Josh, could you expand a little bit on how 3Play Media performs with foreign accents? This thing came up a lot with Australian accents, British accents, et cetera. So still English transcription, but people who have different accents than the American accent would like to use it.

JOSH MILLER: Yeah, it’s a great question. And we actually deal with accents all the time. That’s something that we’ve built our system to really handle well. And it’s a combination of the way the human actually works on the transcription and the way we do the time synchronization so that it can still be very accurate.

One thing you can sometimes finds that accents not only make the transcription more difficult but also the synchronization of the text can be made more difficult. But we definitely account for both and can absolutely deal with accents, even pretty difficult accents at times. We also have the ability to convert– since all of our transcriptionists are here in the United States, we can actually convert from US-based English to UK and Australian English so that we cover all the local requirements.

MEYTAL BURSTEIN:Thank you. A question that came up for Luda is, with Kaltura, are you able to track how many unique viewers you had for video that you uploaded?

LUDA RUDISTKY: Thank you. This is a great question. So we do provide an analytics model with Kaltura platform. We will not only give you a report of how many users watched a video, we will give you what user watched what video and what part of video they watched. So you can take this report and definitely use them as an analytics data of how your students interact with the content.

And on top of this, it’s all integrated with multiple LMSes, so it makes it a transparent process for you. And if you’re not satisfied with the analytics provided by Kaltura, we have partner companies, like Conviva, Google Analytics, comScore, Nelson, and others who are integrated with Kaltura, so you can basically use their plugins through Kaltura player, and it will provide you with analytics as well.

MEYTAL BURSTEIN: Thanks. Another question that came in for you, Luda, is, are the number of minutes per video that a member of the faculty can upload to Kaltura limited at all to a certain number of minutes like you would be limited in YouTube?

LUDA RUDISTKY: No, there is no limit of number of minutes. So it’s all doable with Kaltura. It depends on what package you are using, but there is no limitations.

MEYTAL BURSTEIN: Thanks. Jason, the question that came up for you, are functionalities that you just demonstrated available with Desire2Learn Learning Management System at all?

JASON NEELY: I do not know. I don’t know if Luda, actually, might be able to answer that, because the features that I demonstrated is a part of the Kaltura and Moodle integration. So I’m not aware if there is any Kaltura integration with the Desire2Learn management system.

LUDA RUDISTKY: Yes, we actually do have integration with Desire2Learn. So we do provide the integration with Moodle, Desire2Learn, Blackboard, Sakai. It’s all available.

JOSH MILLER: And I can add that I was actually speaking with someone working on the Desire2Learn integration recently. Both the Kaltura integration is very, very easy, and they were able to get an interactive transcript up and running within the Desire2Learn environment pretty quickly.

MEYTAL BURSTEIN: Thank you. Josh, another question came up for you. Is there a 3Play Media solution that a university can deploy with Kaltura’s on-prem version as opposed to the hosted version?

JOSH MILLER: Absolutely. By default, we offer hosting for the text transcripts and captions if necessary. Everything runs off of Akamai so that it will be streamed very efficiently and all around the world. But there’s always the option to host all the content on your own server and have the exact same experience. And it’s a very quick adjustment in the embed code. It’s absolutely possible.

MEYTAL BURSTEIN: Josh, another question that came up for you quite a few times are people who are interested to know what would be the basic pricing for using 3Play Media’s captioning services. Would you pay on a per-video base, or would you pay on a monthly base, or what exactly is it that people are required to do as a way of getting these services?

JOSH MILLER: That’s a great question. Basically, we’re really only going to charge for the duration or the exact amount of content that we actually transcribe and caption. So we charge based on the exact duration of any file. There’s no minimum per file or anything like that. And all the captions, interactive transcripts, everything will be included with that fee.

So it starts in the neighborhood of $150 per recorded hour and can go down with volume discounts and things like that. But certainly, we can provide more details. If you just get in touch with us, we can give you the full breakdown.

MEYTAL BURSTEIN: Thanks. Luda, a question for you. Can Kaltura be used in collaboration with lecture capture tools currently available in the market?

LUDA RUDISTKY: Absolutely. We’re integrated with multiple lecture capture vendors today, and it’s available– I can speak about Crestron, Kaltura Video, and a couple of others. Another thing, that using some lecture capture system today, we can easily integrate this Kaltura– we provide this open API platform where it’s quite easy to integrate with any lecture capture available out there. So if there is a particular interest, I would be happy to take it offline.

MEYTAL BURSTEIN: Another question that came up is for both Nicole and Jason. Could you expand a little bit about how easy it is or where are the challenges in using both Kaltura and 3Play combined? If you had a very easy process, could you expand a little bit on that?

JASON NEELY: I can go first. And the process was, I would say, relatively easy. When we first started with Kaltura and then 3Play, it was easy in the sense of it was basically just some clicking. You had to record the video. You had to upload it. Nothing overly difficult, but there was a lot of clicking involved.

As I mentioned a little bit earlier in my presentation, 3Play has just released a tighter integration with Kaltura, so while I haven’t been able to use the feature quite yet, it should now be easier. So the demonstration is that if the faculty member records a video with their webcam, it’s placed directly into Kaltura, and then the instructional designer or whoever it is is in control of the videos and transcriptions would just have to go over to the 3Play management console and just click Upload, and that would send the video to 3Play.

And then they do all the transcription and can post back into the Kaltura video. So with the new feature, that makes things extremely easy. I’m actually excited to test out, because it was a little bit laborious having to do a lot of clicking and uploading and waiting for especially longer videos to convert.

I will say, with that being said, I think the most difficulty that we have encountered when integrating Kaltura and 3Play and putting the videos in the courses is that we’ve had some technical issues within Moodle. In particular with the video editing features that Kaltura can do is for some reason, when we post the embed code into our Moogle instance, that it was stripping out a dash in the video ID, so that wasn’t allowing the video to play properly. So there were some technical issues on the back end that we’ve been trying to sort through. But as far as the process of getting videos into the learning management system and getting them transcribed, it’s getting easier with time.

NICOLE CROY: Yeah, and I would just highlight with what I showed in my presentation how streamlined the process really is. We were uploading and downloading four or five different formats previously. And with Kaltura and the 3Play integration now, we do one upload, and it’s all taken care of for us. So it has just really, really streamlined our process.

I would say the only challenge that we’ve experienced is we are utilizing Kaltura on a university level, and I’m just part of one of three colleges within the university. So having multiple administrators in our Kaltura management system and just getting a real workflow as far as how are we categorizing and getting an architecture within our university to utilize that, was definitely a challenge. We’ve developed a Kaltura users group that meets on a regular basis to address those issues and feel like we’ve got a really good workflow going now.

JASON NEELY: One thing that I would actually like to add to echo what Nicole said, as far as kind of a real-time information or real-time data just as far as getting videos transcribed is what happened with us and what actually prompted our office– the Distance Learning Office in the College of Ed within the University of Florida– to move to 3Play is that we needed videos transcribed, and that it was taking, actually, several weeks to get them back. So by the time we got them back, the class was already two or three weeks ahead.

So that might be a better reference point of how it’s actually streamlined our processes. Now, we don’t have to wait two or three weeks. It’s just a matter of days or a day to get our transcriptions back.

MEYTAL BURSTEIN: Thank you. We have roughly 50 or 60 questions or so come in in the last five minutes. So what I would suggest is take a couple more questions before we wrap up this webinar, and then wrap it up, and we will get back to everyone who asked questions offline, and we will provide you with more personalized, in-depth answers to your questions, if that’s OK with everybody.

So I would like to just wrap things up by saying, thank you to everyone before we take the last couple of questions. We will have the recording up and running in just a few days. Thank you to all the presenters who did a marvelous job and raised such a huge interest from the attendees. And thanks to all the attendees, of course, for joining us today.

Next question we’re going to take is for Luda. When you upload videos to the Kaltura system, will the Kaltura system support the management of metadata on the videos that you upload. For example, if you want to describe the video as accessible once you’ve made it accessible, will you be able to do so using Kaltura.

LUDA RUDISTKY: Yes, absolutely. Once you upload your video into Kaltura, you can specify very sophisticated metadata. And we have metadata and custom metadata. And there are a lot of ways to manage your metadata and specify, is it accessible or not accessible, or different rights and permissions. So it’s all available for you through a very simple interface.

MEYTAL BURSTEIN: Another question that came up, and the last one we’re going to take for today, is a question for Jason. Who actually, in your case, adds the transcript to the instructor’s Moodle site? Is it done centrally through you, or is it done by the faculty members who upload the videos?

JASON NEELY: It’s done by our office, and that, actually, is me. For our office– and we are a little bit separate from the rest of the university– I’m the one that pretty much controls video and the transcriptions. There are obviously other people in our office that have access to it that can post videos to Kaltura and even can put the transcripts in. I’m kind of the main point of contact. So I’m the one that pairs the video and the transcripts together.

MEYTAL BURSTEIN: Thank you, again. Thanks for the wonderful presentations today, and thank you, everyone, for joining us. We will put the recording up available for on-demand viewing in the next couple of days, and we will answer all the questions that were asked throughout the session shortly. Thank you all for joining, and have a great day.

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