Implementation of & Solutions for Closed Captioning in U.S. Institutions of Higher Education

Between the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and state laws, almost all higher education institutions in the U.S. are legally required to provide closed captioning for recorded lectures, online courses, class materials, and other video content used for teaching and learning. In fact, 87% of the institutions surveyed reported that closed captioning is being implemented for at least some videos. However, while the need for accessibility is universal, most colleges and universities approach closed captioning in different ways. This study provides answer to these questions: Are institutions meeting legal requirements? What captioning processes are in place and are they centralized? What are the captioning budgets and how are they determined? Who are the people and departments involved in captioning decisions? How is captioning prioritized and is it being done proactively or reactively? What are the barriers?

This study was conducted by the Oregon State University Ecampus Research Unit under research director Dr. Katie Linder.

The study was conducted in collaboration with 3Play Media.



© Copyright 3Play Media

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87% of institutions

add closed captions to at least some videos

79% of institutions

think they are only partially meeting legal requirements for captioning

16% of institutions

reported having a captioning budget between $10k & $50k

46% of institutions

use a third party to create captions for online courses

How do you create captions for online courses?

32% of institutions

said the captioning budget is housed in a disability services office

Lack of general awareness

was the #1 barrier to captioning

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53% of institutions

said their approach to captioning is primarily reactive or more reactive than proactive

How do institutions prioritize captioning?

53% of institutions

prioritize videos for captioning based on the number of student requests

Only 26% of institutions

monitor captioning compliance

graph showing the following: 78.8% partially meeting requirements, 14.9% meeting requirements, 2.1% exceeding requirements, 2.1% unsure, 2.1% not at all
10.5% $0, 18.4% $1-$10k, 15.8% $10k-$50k, 5.3% $50k-$100k, 2.6% >$100k, 47.4% i don't know

What is your budget for captioning?

graph showing the following: 46% a third party, 44% video creator, 27% office of disability services, 20% dedicated captioning staff, 15% other, 12% automated software, 7% office of IT
graph showing the following: i don't know (13.2%), academic affairs (7.9%), disability services (31.5%), information technology (13.2%), across multiple departments (21.1%), other (13.2%)

27% of institutions

have a centralized operations team for captioning

graph showing the following: 49% no aspects of captioning are centralized, 32% a centralized captioning policy exists, 27% a centralized captioning operations team exists, 22% a centralized captioning budget exists
graph showing the following: 55.3% lack of general awareness, 48.9% budget, 46.8% inadequate staffing, 46.8% unclear whose responsibility it is, 42.6% lack of admin buy-in, 40.4% too time consuming, 31.9% not an institutional priority, 12.8% copyright concerns
graph showing the following: 34% more reactive than proactive, 19.1% primarily reactive, 10.6% primarily proactive, 10.6% more proactive than reactive, 10.6% equally proactive and reactive, 15.1% no response

Why are institutions not captioning?

graph showing the following: 53.2% student requests, 31.9% purpose of video, 31.9% public vs. private, 12.8% course enrollment, 10.6% video popularity, 10.6% all videos are captioned, 6.4% subject matter
graph showing the following: 53.6% no, 26.3% yes, 21.1% unsure

Do you monitor caption compliance?

To what extent is your institution meeting legal requirements?

Where is the budget for captioning housed?

Are captioning efforts proactive or reactive?

Download this free 70-page report to get results from the largest IRB-approved study on institutional implementation of closed captioning. The data was collected from 47 higher education institutions in the U.S., including public and private institutions across 4-year, 2-year, and professional schools. This report sheds light on many critical issues surrounding accessibility and the rapidly growing implementation of closed captioning in higher education.