[INFOGRAPHIC] 5 Stats to Get Administrative Buy-In for Captioning
Updated: June 3, 2019
Need help convincing your institution’s administration to invest in captioning? We conducted two national research studies with Oregon State University’s Ecampus Research Unit to uncover student’s perceptions of captioning and how institutions nationwide are approaching closed captioning.
While most institutions are captioning some videos, many still see captioning as an accessibility cost, when in reality captioning benefits the whole institution. Furthermore, captioning has stringent legal backing, and it’s important to become aware of the expectations.
One of the biggest barriers to captioning reported by institutions nationwide was budgeting. It can be a challenge to convince an administration to realize the importance of captioning. So instead, try using the following five facts to help garner buy-in for captioning.
1. Lack of general awareness was the number one reason why institutions are not captioning.
All respondents agreed that closed captioning is a genuine need at their institution, yet 55.3% of the institutions surveyed stated they were not aware that closed captioning was something that should be done.
In most cases, an institution is aware of the need to caption, but either they are confused with the laws on captioning or they place the duty on the faculty, who are often unaware of this responsibility. Most faculty will then only request captions if a student places a request, though often many students choose not to disclose a disability.
Because lack of awareness is a barrier, having administrative buy-in is critical to help spread awareness and availability of captioning across campus. The bottom line is captioning is a legal obligation, and it’s not only requested content that should be captioned. If your university posts videos for the public to use, they need to be captioned. If you use a video that was previously aired on television, it needs to be captioned. Lacking awareness of what needs to be captioned will not serve as an alibi when a lawsuit comes knocking. Encourage your university to take a proactive approach to captioning on campus – that way you can begin working towards full compliance.
2. 98.6% of students find closed captions helpful.
All students, not only students with disabilities, benefit from closed captions. For students, closed captions serve as a means to focus, retain information, and grasp the material better. In other words, captions are learning aids and they help all students improve comprehension of the material presented. Furthermore, there are many other innovative uses for captioning in the classroom that benefit learning.
Most institutions will only caption videos if a request is made by a student or faculty member. A better approach is to invest in captions to benefit the whole student body and increase the return on investment. As in the microeconomics concept of marginal rate of return, the more you invest in captioning, the more students use it and the greater the long-term return of the investment.
3. Only 17% of institutions believe they are meeting or exceeding legal requirements for captioning.
Under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and many state laws, educational institutions are required by law to caption their online content. Multiple lawsuits have been brought forward against leading institutions nationwide like Harvard and MIT for providing uncaptioned educational videos. While captioning videos takes time, education, and resources, being presented with a lawsuit is more time consuming, a huge budget deflator, and a shock to the institution’s reputation.
Only partially meeting legal requirements will ultimately be detrimental for an institution that is vibrant and growing. Taking the time to establish a budget and to educate faculty on their requirements towards accessibility will save your institution from the nuisances of lawsuits.
4. 87% of institutions add closed captions to at least some videos.
Captioning clearly has a robust presence in institutions of higher education. Almost all respondents are implementing closed captions on at least some of their videos. With the proliferation of captioning laws, it may be time for your institution to pay more attention to captioning and the budget allocated for captioning.
Instead of scrambling for funds or using poor captioning practices, encourage your institution to provide a budget. Show them that most institutions (and most likely your institution as well) have a captioning workflow. Captioning requirements wont be eliminated any time soon and they will only continue to become more stringent.
5. 49% of institutions have no aspects of captioning centralized.
By not centralizing captioning, a university could actually be spending more money on captioning. For example, the same video could be getting captioned twice because two different departments requested it, or shorter videos that could be captioned in-house are being sent to a third-party vendor and using up funds for more difficult projects. Or, to look at it from a different angle, faculty could be spending hours captioning their own videos, time that could be spent on more job-related tasks.
Ultimately, centralizing your captioning will save your institution money because you could ask for bulk discounts, avoid captioning content twice, and review if videos that are requested for captioning need to be captioned. Having a centralized workflow will also help to define a budget to closely manage caption spending and avoid sunk costs. Overall, your institution will see a significant improvement in efficiency.
Ultimately, when you integrate captioning and other accessibility initiatives into your procurement process, you will no longer spend money on other things that are inaccessible and simultaneously begin addressing the bigger issues on campus. The solutions may not be perfect in the beginning, but as you continue to work together as a unified institution, rather than a decentralized one, the path to accessibility will become clearer and more straightforward.
To learn more about how institutions are approaching captioning, download the research study, Implementation of & Solutions for Closed Captioning in U.S. Institutions of Higher Education. Make sure to also download and read, Student Uses and Perceptions of Closed Captions & Transcripts.
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