Strategies for Deploying Accessible Video Captions: Tegrity User Conference Session Summary

April 19, 2013 BY SHANNON K. MURPHY
Updated: March 16, 2021

Last week, we were pleased take part in McGraw-Hill’s Tegrity User Conference. Spanning three days (April 10-12), the Tegrity User Conference brought together academic professionals from leading U.S. colleges and universities. During this time they shared best practices for the Tegrity lecture capture system.

On Friday, Tole Khesin from 3Play Media gave a presentation with Mike Phillips from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne (IPFW) and Neil Kahn from McGraw-Hill Education. Their talk addressed accessibility for students through video captions using the Tegrity platform. Topics included U.S. accessibility legislation, university captioning policies, and accommodation, as well as the future of universal design. If you’re using or considering Tegrity and need to understand how to create accessible courses, keep reading for useful information.

Watch the recorded session: Tegrity Captioning: Strategies for Deploying Accessible Lecture Capture Video: IPFW and McGraw-Hill Education Case Studies

Accessibility Laws Impacting Video and Captioning

Online accessibility is slowly moving forward. In the future, however, we can expect websites and videos to be designed with accessibility in mind—the same way that no building today is built without a handicapped entrance. Below is a brief summary of the legal obligations of universities to disabled students.

Section 508 and 504

Section 508 and 504 are part of a larger legal framework, the Rehabilitation Act. This act bars discrimination on the basis of disability in all programs led by federal agencies. This also extends to programs receiving federal financial assistance, federal jobs, and the employment practices of federal contractors. Section 504 states: “No individual, solely by reason of her or his disability…be denied the benefits of any program, service, or activity…” Section 508 requires all electronic and information technology developed, maintained, procured, or used by the Federal government be accessible to people with disabilities.

Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a very broad law that requires equal access for “places of public accommodation” and forbids discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. In the recent ADA lawsuit, NAD vs. Netflix, Netflix argued that the ADA applies only to physical places and therefore could not apply to Netflix’s streaming video service. However, the judge ruled that the ADA does in fact apply to online content and that Netflix qualifies as a “place of public accommodation.” This ruling has profound implications for anyone publishing online content, including video content used in education and enterprise.

The 2st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA)

This act expands telecommunications protections for people with disabilities. Previous laws increased the accessibility of television services; this law extends access to broadband, digital, and mobile services. For in-depth information about the CVAA deadlines and implications, download the brief CVAA Online Video Captioning Requirements and Deadlines

How IPFW Deployed Captions for Lecture Capture Video

Mike Phillips is an avid user of both Tegrity and 3Play Media. Why did IPFW start captioning their videos? Simply put, there was a need. Several hearing impaired students needed assistance in online classes. As the Multimedia Technologist for the university, Phillips understood that the scope of this project would only increase over time as more students used videos and online interfaces to learn.

The university goal was to implement a plan in compliance with section 508 and, additionally, for any request to be met within 11 days. First, they looked at their technology vendors, making sure that the systems they were implementing were accessible. Phillips was tasked with finding a solution that could integrate with Tegrity, Kaltura, Mediasite, and Echo360 to caption a large volume of content.

After comparing video captioning companies, IPFW chose to use the 3Play Media integration with Tegrity. He bought a bulk amount of transcription hours to support their accessibility plan and lessen the lag time of inter-departmental requests.

Both goals were successfully met. The IPFW policy is transitioning from being reactive to proactive. The previously purchased captioning hours are available across different departments at the university, and Phillips now captions videos on the public-facing site.

Why You Should Caption Your Tegrity Video Content

Of course, captioning video allows for deaf and hard-of-hearing students to understand video courses and keeps the university compliant with the law. But students use captions in a variety of ways. Khesin expanded the usability benefits of video captions:

Flexible Learning Environments

Captions give the flexibility to view the content anywhere. A university library is a sound-sensitive environment, but a student studying in the library without headphones can use video content without disturbing others nearby.

Multi-modal Learning & ESL

Most people who use captions are not deaf. Many use captions to help with comprehension. Students who know English as a second language may be confused by certain terms, references and pronunciations, particularly if their teacher has an accent. Furthermore, it has been proven that multimodal methods of learning improve comprehension when studying a new language.

Internal Research

By transcribing and captioning video content, it becomes searchable. Universities are amassing large archives of video content. It is important that students and faculty can find it, watch it, cite it, and reuse it.

Tegrity’s Automated Captioning Workflow

Once a connection has been established between your Tegrity and 3Play Media accounts, the process of captioning Tegrity content is automated and seamless.

  • Step 1: A faculty member or media department requests a class or course be captioned.
  • Step 2: An account administrator approves the request.
  • Step 3: In the background, 3Play Media receives the video, creates captions, and sends them back to Tegrity.
  • Step 4: Captions post back to a published Tegrity lecture automatically.

That’s it! Now your Tegrity lectures are captioned. Furthermore, if you co-publish videos on platforms such as YouTube or Vimeo, you can easily download the appropriate file format to use on additional platforms at no extra cost.

How Do You Prioritize Video Captioning?

As Kahn pointed out, due to budgetary constraints you can’t just wave a hand and caption all content. While Kahn supports captioning new content from the start, old or legacy content must also be prioritized. He shared the strategy that McGraw-Hill Education uses.

  • Most Popular Titles: Captioning the most popular video titles ensures that you will service a larger audience.
  • Newer Titles: Newly released titles have a longer shelf life, so captioning these videos immediately benefits your overall accessibility strategy.
  • Requested Titles: Based on a need, McGraw-Hill Education accommodates requests for video captions.

Next Steps for Accessible Video Technology

To close out our presentation, Neil Kahn looked towards the future, lending tips on how to prepare for the next stages of video accessibility.

Choose Closed Captions

While Kahn explained the difference between open captions and closed captions, he admitted that there isn’t much of a comparison between the two. Open captions are costly and inefficient. Closed captions are much more versatile and the standard of accessibility today.

Find an HTML5 Player with Flash Fallback

As mentioned in our previous post, HTML5 Video Captioning: Explain it to Me, HTML5 is set to standardize how online video is published across browsers and devices. Taking a proactive stance to technology and accessibility, Kahn suggested using a player that supports HTML5 with Flash fallback. This means that if a user is on a dated browser or device without HMTL5 support, their Flash player will still play the content.

Select a Captioning Format

Currently, SRT (SubRip Text) is the most commonly used caption format. WebVTT (Web Video Text Track) is the future. WebVTT files are editable similarly to a CSS file, meaning there are lots of styling options. Want to alter your captions to read karaoke style, painting over words as they are spoken? No problem with WebVTT.

Thanks for reading our summary of this conference session! If you have any questions about the information discussed above, feel free to comment below.

Not using 3Play Media yet? We would be happy set up a demo account and demonstrate the ease captioning with Tegrity.

Watch the recorded session: Tegrity Captioning: Strategies for Deploying Accessible Lecture Capture Video: IPFW and McGraw-Hill Education Case Studies

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