University of Wisconsin Presents their Captioning and Accessibility Policy
Updated: February 26, 2018
Last Monday and Tuesday, 3Play Media was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the Sloan Consortium Blended Learning Conference. We were lucky enough to participate in the session Accessible Video Captioning for Blended Learning and Lecture Capture with 3Play Media customer, Dusty Smith. Smith, the Digital Media Manager for the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison spoke about his institution’s accessibility policies, giving insights into accessibility requests and captioning workflow at a large university infrastructure. Equally important, Smith imparted advice on prioritizing which videos to caption when video production exceeds budget.
Smith began the presentation with an overview of UW-Madison by the numbers:
University of Wisconsin-Madison:
- Student enrollment: 42,818
- Faculty and staff: 21,355
College of Engineering:
- 4,000 undergraduate students
- 1,550 graduate students
- 11,000 professional engineering education students
- 5,500+ hours of video
How the University of Wisconsin Uses Online Video
The College of Engineering, whose media services Smith oversees, creates a majority of its video for professional engineering courses. These are captured through the Mediasite lecture capture system and Ncast recorders. Professors have also recorded video through Camtasia and published on YouTube. Currently, Smith is responsible for a video archive of 5,500 videos but it can be hard to gauge how much video is being created and placed on public sites, such as YouTube, without university knowledge.
UW’s Motivation for Video Captioning and Transcription
The University of Wisconsin-Madison strives for video accessibility in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act. As a public institution, UW needs to follow Title II of the ADA which states that state and local institutions:
- May not refuse to allow a person with a disability to participate in a service, program, or activity simply because the person has a disability.
- Must provide programs and services in an integrated setting, unless separate or different measures are necessary to ensure equal opportunity.
- Must furnish auxiliary aids and services when necessary to ensure effective communication, unless an undue burden or fundamental alteration would result.
- Shall operate their programs so that, when viewed in their entirety, they are readily accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities.
As such, a committee was established at UW-Madison to assess captioning contracts.
Check out the University of Wisconsin Accessibility Policy
In fact, 3Play Media was awarded a state-wide captioning contract with UW System in 2010. 3Play Media provides video transcripts and captions for 26 campuses across the state and one extension program.
How the University of Wisconsin Justifies the Cost of Video Transcripts and Captions
At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, there is no central accessibility office. Each department must budget for accommodation and help their faculty and staff publish accessible educational materials. Smith explains how each department becomes aware of a captioning need:
So while each department pays for their accommodation requests, the University of Wisconsin provides contingency funding. This means that if an accommodation request would severely impact a departmental budget, the department can request reimbursement for captioning costs.
What Is the Workflow After an Accommodation Request Is Made?
Smith explains the captioning process at the University of Wisconsin:
Which Videos Get Captioned First?
Beyond accommodation requests, UW, like many universities, produces a plan as to how to get the most from their captioning budget.
Like many universities, a majority of classes are not captioned. But UW-Madison wants to make sure those that need captions aren’t dissuaded from asking for accommodation. They added a notice at the bottom of their webpage to inform students about this option. Furthermore, the University of Wisconsin is working towards accessibility proactively. Having vendors, contracts, and a reliable workflow in place is the necessary accessibility framework that facilitates an agile response to captioning needs.
How are you reacting to the needs of disabled students? It is wise to test vendors before the need arises, getting a pulse on a company’s quality & accuracy, flexibility, and turnaround time. We invite you to try a free captioning demonstration with 3Play Media.
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