10 Tips for Creating Accessible Online Course Content [TRANSCRIPT]
LILY BOND: I’m Lily Bond from 3Play Media, and I’ll be moderating today. And I’m joined by Dr. Katie Linder, who is the research director at Oregon State University’s Ecampus Research Unit, and the head researcher on the study that we’re talking about today.
KATIE LINDER: So I’m excited to share the results from the second part of a study that we’ve run in collaboration with 3Play Media. And this is the institutional component of this study, where we were looking at how colleges nationwide are handling closed captioning.
The first study that we talked about in our September 15 webinar is available now for replay on 3Play Media’s website. So if that’s of interest to you, that study is about student uses and perceptions of closed captions and transcripts.
Again, if you plan to tweet about the webinar, I also have a couple of Twitter handles here for you. One is for the Ecampus Research Unit. And the other is my personal Twitter handle, which you’re welcome to use, @Katie__Linder. I’ve also included my email here, in case you have questions about the study that you’d like to chat with me about afterward.
We’re going to save questions until the end. And again, I want to just repeat to reference the slide number in the bottom left corner for specific questions if you have them, and they’re related to this slide. So let’s go ahead and get started.
So for this particular presentation, I want to offer just a brief outline of the study recruitment and procedures so you know who is involved in the study. And then we’re going to provide some data and results, including whether institutions are prioritizing captioning, how they’re budgeting for closed captioning, whether captioning efforts are being centralized, the people and the departments involved in captioning decisions, whether colleges and universities are meeting the legal requirements for captioning and also whether they perceive that they are, how much captioning is currently being done.
We’ll offer a comparison of captioning practices for face-to-face, online, and institutional purposes, and also talk just generally about the awareness of captioning across campus. I’m going to end with some takeaways from the study. And as Lily mentioned, a report with additional details will also be released later this fall.
On today’s webinar, I’m not going to get into a lot of the qualitative components from this study. And that will be included more in the report. So if that’s of interest to you, feel free to download the report when it’s available.
Just to give you a little bit of a context for this study, some of the questions originated from another national study that I was involved in in 2013 that resulted in the couple of publications that you see here, where we were looking more generally about issues related to institutional preparation for online accessibility. The study also looked at collaboration efforts between centers for teaching and learning, and offices of disability services.
And closed captions were identified in that study as a pain point for institutions who were working on accessibility initiatives. And so out of that grew this two-part study that we collaborated with with 3Play Media– the student study, and then the institutional study that I’m going to be talking about today.
There were several study research questions that we developed, again, in collaboration with 3Play Media, and they are the following. What are the solutions, both internal and external, that are being used to implement captioning across an institution? To what extent are institutions implementing captioning as a campus-wide initiative for courses and programs? Are institutional captioning solutions centralized or decentralized? To what extent are institutions implementing captions? Is this happening proactively or reactively?
We also wanted to know what are the institutional motivations for implementing captioning? Who are the stakeholders involved in the implementation of captioning? What are the current budgets for institutions for captioning? And who are the people and units held responsible for the implementation of effective captioning?
Still more questions. We wanted to know institutional barriers that prevent effective implementation, and if there are other barriers aside from institutional that prevent effective implementation of captioning. Are there institutions that are implementing captioning particularly well? And what does an effective and efficient implementation of captioning across courses and programs look like? And last but not least, we wanted to know if institutions rely on data or research documenting the benefits of captioning and transcription to secure funding.
For this study, we reached out to a little over 3,700 institutional representatives who received emails announcing this study. And that does not include potential reach that we add in social media, through listservs, and also through word-of-mouth recruitment strategies. There were a series of webinars that described the study, and then institutions that chose to participate were given a link to the survey instrument.
We asked that institutions outside of the United States not participate in the study, just because of differences in our legal requirements. And we wanted to focus specifically on those components. And institutional representatives were asked to complete a 61-item online survey.
We asked that the institutions that decided to participate choose the person or people– it could have been a group– that could best respond to the questions of the survey. And I mention that because you’ll see that on many of the questions, we have respondents who don’t know the answers. So we attempted to have the best person answer these survey questions, but you’ll see that there were people who don’t know the full components and breadth of what’s going on with closed captioning at their institutions.
Survey respondents also had the option at the end of the survey to provide their email to be entered into a raffle for one of five 10-hour captioning credits that were valued by 3Play Media at $1,500.
So we ended up with 54 institutional representatives who responded to the study. And 47 institutions were included in our analysis of the outcomes after data cleaning procedures were completed. Even with this small sample size, I think you’ll see that we have some interesting findings.
It’s also important to note, for those of you who attended the first webinar about the student survey, that these results that I am presenting today are a little more complicated because we asked institutions to differentiate between closed captions created for videos being used in face-to-face and online courses, as well as for institutional purposes. And breaking out the data in that way shows some really interesting complexities about how institutions are making closed captioning decisions. So more on that a little bit later in the presentation.
First, I’m going to show you just some of the demographics of institutions who responded to this survey. These were some of the things that we asked people to identify. But it was very important for IRB purposes, particularly because we were asking about components related to federal compliance with closed captioning laws, that people could be completely anonymous.
And so we wanted to get a sense of the diversity of who was responding, but to make sure that institutions couldn’t be identified after the fact. So I think you’ll see we had a pretty diverse range of folks who responded.
This was the responses that we had from the regional accrediting. So you’ll see that it’s a pretty good split. We have a few more people coming from Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Colleges. But it’s pretty evenly split between the Northwest Commission, the Middle States Commission, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. HLC is the Higher Learning Commission. So we had several schools that identified in one or more area in terms of where their accreditation came from.
For institution type, you’ll see that a large chunk of the institutions came from university level that had PhD and Master’s Degrees and professional degrees. The second-highest was Bachelor and Master’s, and the third after that was community colleges. We did not have anyone identify from technical, trade, or vocational.
We also had about half of the institutions respond that they’re part of a larger campus system. So we had some institutions that were pretty significant in size. About 80% of the institutions that responded were coming from public institutions.
And in terms of enrollment, we had a pretty wide split in terms of where people were. Most people came from a 10,000 to 20,000 enrollment of students. But as you can see, it’s pretty spread out across how many different groupings of student enrollment that we had here.
We also asked specifically about online courses that schools had, and you’ll see again a pretty broad split. We asked how many courses they had, and about 40% said they had 101 or more. This is one area where you’ll see some people who just didn’t know. So we did have schools participate that had significant numbers of online courses.
Because of some recent legal decisions regarding accessibility requirements that are specific to Massive Open Online Courses, we asked if these schools offered Massive Open Online Courses, and we did find that 11 of them did. So that was one of the questions that we included in this survey.
We also asked about online enrollments. So you’ll see that even though we had a large chunk of schools that had 101 online courses or more, the majority of the people responded that they had 1,000 students or less. And then there was a pretty diverse spread between that and up to 30,000 students. We did not have any schools respond who had more than 30,000 students who are enrolled in their online courses.
We wanted to get a sense of how many faculty were in each of our institutions. And so what you see here is a breakdown between full-time and part-time based on numbers. You’ll see that we had 15 institutions who had 501 or more full-time faculty, and eight who had 501 or more part-time faculty. But again, you see the spread here is pretty broad in terms of the schools that responded, and how many of them had these different categories of levels of faculty, both full-time and part-time.
We started in the survey by asking some general questions about video creation guidelines so we could get a sense of not just the closed captioning practices, but in general what was going on with videos at different institutions. So we asked if there were any institutional guidelines that existed to inform the creation of videos more generally that are used at folks’ institutions.
And we broke this out by face-to-face videos for face-to-face courses, videos that were created for online courses, and videos that were created for institutional purposes. And when we talk about institutional purposes, we were thinking about things like marketing videos, videos that might go on an institutional YouTube channel– that kind of thing.
So what you’ll see here is that for the most part, many schools said that there were no guidelines– that there were no institutional guidelines that existed to inform the creation of videos. A lot of folks were unsure. And we saw the most people saying that there were institutional guidelines that existed for online videos. But notice that there is real distinction happening here between face-to-face, online, and institutional. There weren’t necessarily guidelines that were happening across the board for all of these institutions.
We also wanted to know if institutions track or inventory, in some way, the videos that are created so that maybe this would lead to possible tracking of closed captions. And what we found was, again, the majority of institutions said that no, they were not tracking videos for face-to-face, online, or institutional purposes, and/or they didn’t know if they were tracking the videos. And we did see the most tracking happening, again, for online videos that were being created for online courses.
We also asked institutions who can post videos on behalf of the institution. And what we found, perhaps not surprisingly, is that for the most part, designated offices can only post videos on behalf of the institution. We had some people who said any faculty members. And then we also had some designated individuals, staff members, administration. And students, as you can see, had the lowest numbers here.
We did ask for people to write in answers about people, like the designated individuals and the other category of the designated offices. And we got information back– a lot about marketing, that marketing is both the individual and the office that is most likely to be posting these videos on behalf of the institution.
The survey then shifted to some questions that were specific about closed captions. And we asked if the approach, including the process, the staffing, and the criteria that is used to create closed captioning for a video, regardless of whether it’s produced for face-to-face, for online, or for institutional purposes– if these approaches were all the same.
And you’ll see here that 40% of respondents said no. And that makes sense, given the earlier data we saw about how video compliance and criteria are being created, it was really different across the face-to-face, online, and institutional purposes.
What’s interesting here is we do see almost an equal number of people who say yes, the approach is the same across all of those videos. So there’s a really interesting even split here between the institutions who are creating the same processes across the different video purposes and institutions that are not.
We wanted to get a sense of how much captioning is being done. And so we asked if closed captioning is ever created for any videos. And in 87% of the institutions, the answer was yes, at some video, at some point, closed captioning is created. Interestingly, we also had 11% that said they didn’t know, and then a small number that said no, it’s not being created.
We wanted to know for how many videos is closed captioning created. And we figured that people would not be able to give us specific numbers. So we asked in more general ways. Are all videos, most videos, some videos, no videos, or do they not know how much captioning is being done? And as you’ll see here, the majority of our institutions said that some videos are having closed captions being created for them. A relatively small number said that all videos for face-to-face, online, and institutional are having closed captioning created.
Again, what’s interesting here is that the online components for all and most are the highest. And so this is kind of pointing to the fact that many institutions may be prioritizing online videos for closed captioning before they’re prioritizing other kinds of videos for closed captioning. Again, there’s a relatively high number of people here that don’t know for how many videos closed captioning is being created.
As a comparative question, we asked how many transcripts are being created. And this is actually the only question that we talk about transcripts in the entire survey, just because of its length and because of other components we were getting into. In the student survey we did, especially if you attended the first webinar, you know that we discussed transcripts almost equally with closed captions, and we don’t do that here.
So what you’ll see, I think, is pretty equivalent numbers in terms of what’s going on with the captioning versus the transcripts. You’re going to see that there are more videos in online environments where some transcripts are being created. Five more institutions noted that some transcripts are being created for online environments than noted that closed captions are being created. So that’s kind of an interesting finding from the survey.
We were very interested to know if colleges and universities were meeting legal requirements for captioning, and if they knew what that meant, and if they perceived that they were meeting these legal requirements. And so this statement was included in the survey before the following questions that I’m going to go through in just a minute– before they were asked.
So we said that Federal Disability Law Section 508 requires that online videos comply with a set of accessibility standards that requires closed captions for all pre-recorded videos. And then we followed with this short description below that describes what closed captions are.
We asked several questions that were related to this. First we asked how confident are you that you understand what it means for your institution to be in compliance with federal and state accessibility laws regarding closed captions? And you’ll note that 38, or almost 80%, responded that they were confident or very confident that they understand what it means for their institution to be in compliance with these laws.
We then asked what best describes your understanding of what it means? Now, remember that a couple of questions ago, we gave them our understanding of what it means for the institution to be in compliance with the law regarding closed captioning. And we had about 50% identify captioning all videos as what it means to comply.
But you’ll also note that there were relatively significant numbers that also said that you are required to proactively caption most of the videos, or that they are only required to provide closed captions in the case of a deaf student, or if a student makes an accommodation request. We, again, had some folks say we are required to proactively caption some of the videos. One person wasn’t sure, didn’t know.
An important finding here is that there were no people who said that they are not legally required to provide any closed captions. So while there might be some confusion about what this means, people do know that there are legal requirements to provide this at a basic level.
So then we asked, to what extent do you believe your institution is meeting closed captioning requirements, given this definition and given your perceptions? And almost 80% believe that they are partially meeting requirements.
It’s important to note here that we only have maybe a little over 15%, 17%, that believe that they’re either meeting requirements or exceeding requirements. So many of the institutions in this study are completely aware that they are not necessarily meeting all of the requirements– or legal requirements, at least– for closed captioning at their institution.
We wanted to know why institutions are captioning. And so we asked if the creation of closed captions for videos at their institution was part of a campus-wide initiative. And for the majority of institutions, the answer was either no or they’re not sure. For about a quarter of them, they did report having a campus-wide initiative around closed captioning.
We also wanted to know the specific reasons why institutions were captioning. And the top two that were reported were to be in compliance with the law and to avoid potential litigation. We had about 75% and almost 80% respond that these were the top reasons that they were captioning at their institutions. The number right below that, as you’ll see, is in response to accommodation requests, and right below that, to support the needs of all learners.
I think it’s interesting to note third from the bottom– “in response to student demand that is not accommodation-related.” I think that’s an interesting one to consider, specifically given some of the results from our student study, where we found that there were pretty significant numbers of students using closed captions that did not require them for accommodation, and that found them very helpful as a learning aid.
So given this concern with compliance, we wanted to know if institutions are monitoring their closed captioned compliance. And we found that over 50% of the institutions are not monitoring compliance, despite that being their top reason for closed captioning. And another 20% were not sure. So a little over a quarter of the institutions that were included in this survey said that they were monitoring their compliance of closed captioning.
So given this, we also wanted to know why are institutions not captioning? And I’ve noted here in red “It’s too expensive,” because I think this is one of the more common reasons, anecdotally, that we think that institutions are not captioning. But this was actually further down on the list than one might have thought.
The highest reason was lack of general awareness. And also, you’ll see we have a “budget not existing,” “staffing is inadequate,” “it’s unclear whose responsibility it is,” and “there isn’t buy-in of administration to caption videos.”
And a lot of these top reasons are very aligned with the initial 2013 research that was reported in the article, “Whose Job Is It?” that really show that institutions are struggling to find an organizational structure for online accessibility and for other kinds of accessibility initiatives at their institution. So I would refer you to that article if that’s of interest to you to learn more.
There are some interesting other components here. But one of the other ones I wanted to point out– again, it’s at the bottom in red– that “this is not a genuine need at our institution.” Zero people have noted that to be the case.
So I think that on a couple of slides now, we have seen definite awareness that there are students and various populations of students who do need closed captioning. There is not a argument that it’s not needed at all.
We asked on these different campuses how videos are prioritized for captions. And we did see the highest number being that they are prioritized by request. Right below that, you’ll see that it’s based on whether there exists a need to create equivalent access. So both of those really seem to be pointing toward this idea of closed captioning being directly tied to accommodation.
You’ll also note that only five institutions responded that all videos are just captioned by policy. So just to briefly recap, we had 38 institutions say that they are very confident or confident that they understand requirements to caption– almost 80% of our respondents. 24 correctly identified the legal requirement to caption all videos. Seven said that they are meeting requirements, and five here have said that all videos are captioned at their institution.
We asked if criteria had been articulated for what constitutes effective closed captioning. And you’ll see that almost 50% of institutions said that yes, there had been some criteria about what constitutes effective closed captioning, but that there were about 35%, 36%, that said no, and another 15% that said they didn’t know. So we have kind of a half-and-half split here.
This is another question that I think directly relates to some of the findings of the student study and the need to provide quality assurance for closed captioning. Students reported that their top hindrances were that closed captions block important information, that they aren’t synced properly with the audio, and that they contain typos or incorrect information. And so the need for criteria for quality assurance is pretty important in terms of the quality of captions that students are experiencing.
Regarding this criteria, we asked how it’s communicated to potential video creators. And as you’ll see here, the highest number of folks said that it’s via a disability services office, or via a website. Less folks had a written policy or provided it through a different kind of office, like technology support or a center for teaching and learning.
So this was also pretty spread out for the people who did have criteria. We had a couple of folks that said that there were software training and different training courses that were also being used at their institution. That was one of a couple of the write-in options that we had there.
So we also asked if there were formal guidelines that existed to inform the closed captioning of videos. And I want to differentiate this from the previous question. The previous question was about criteria that constitutes effective closed captioning. And this is just about more general guidelines that exist at all to inform the closed captioning of videos.
And as you’ll see here, there is kind of a split between what’s going on between face-to-face, online, and institutional. We had about equal numbers of institutions say that yes, they have formal guidelines for each of those things. But we had almost an equivalent number– at least for face-to-face and online– say that no, they did not have any kind of guidelines to inform the closed captioning videos that were being created at their institution.
We asked for those that did have guidelines if they were being systematically communicated to potential video creators. And you’ll see here that for the main component of the institutions, they said that no, they were not being systematically communicated, and this was particularly in the case of online videos.
I thought that was interesting given the earlier data that we saw that said that there were more videos and more captions, and even more transcripts that were being created in online environments. So here, we’re seeing kind of a breakdown in terms of the guidelines and how they’re being communicated for those particular environments.
We also asked some questions about who decides whether to create closed captions. And some of the breakdown here. We offered options of the Office of Disability Services, the office of IT, so like a CIO or a instructional technology office, the provost, the vice president or VP of student affairs or the equivalent position, the CIO, the Chief Diversity Officer, deans or chairs, faculty, students, I don’t know, or other.
And what you’ll see here is in the vast majority of cases, particularly for face-to-face, it is the Office of Disability Services who is deciding whether or not to create captions. And this is closely followed by faculty, for both online and face-to-face, which was a very interesting finding– to see that faculty are making the decisions about whether or not to create closed captioning for their courses.
We also asked who decides which caption solution to use– so how captions are being created, whether or not it’s going to be outsourced or created somehow internally to the institution. And as you can see here, it’s a little bit all over the map. But the highest numbers are coming from the Office of Disability Services and from an office of instructional technology.
We also found in this other category, particularly for online, you’ll see that number is quite high. We did not provide an option for a distance education unit or department, and that was cited very frequently– that a distance education office or unit was deciding which caption solution to use, particularly for online courses. So here you’ll see again, a lot of the decisions that are being made by an office of disability services, a technology office, or by faculty members.
We wanted to know also who is creating the captions for the videos that are being captioned. And you’ll see here that there’s kind of an equal split between the creator of the video and a third party that’s external to the institution. We also have several institutions who have staff that are dedicated to captioning.
And then there’s also some folks who are using an office of information technology or automated software. Again, Office of Disability Services is also being used here. It’s a little bit all over the map in terms of who is creating captions at these varying institutions. We’re certainly not seeing any kind of standardized approach.
We wanted to know who ensures the quality of captions. And again, this is very interesting given our results from the student survey and some of the common hindrances that we found that are directly tied to quality assurance. You’ll see here that the majority of institutions responded that it’s the Office of Disability Services or the creator of the video or staff that are dedicated to closed captioning.
Many of them also noted a third party being used outside of their institution. For about 15%, they noted that no one is designated to do this, to ensure the quality. Again, I think it’s important to note that in less than 50% of the institutions, they didn’t know of criteria for effective closed captions. So we had about half of the institutions that didn’t necessarily have criteria established about what would be the quality of effective captions.
We also asked some questions about budgeting. We wanted to know what are institutions budgeting for closed captions? And what you’ll see here is some institutions have no budget. It’s, again, pretty split. We have a range of institutions that are budgeting between $1 and $50,000. Combined, that seems to be the biggest grouping here, other than the group that said they don’t know what their budget is.
We asked where the budget for closed captioning is housed. And you’ll see here that many people noted a Disability Services Office, or in more than one office or department, which speaks a little bit to perhaps the decentralization of closed captioning services that are happening on various campuses.
And then we also asked, “what are the factors that are informing the budget?” And we found that, again, the information that’s informing the budgeting for closed caption is highly related to the number of students who are requesting accommodation that requires that captioning.
For the other category on this, we had several people who responded that they do not have a budget, and that there is no direct budget for closed captioning for them. Some people are also said they’re given a set amount of funds, and then are backed by central funds to cover any cost overruns. So there’s kind of a range of, I think, budgeting options that are happening around campuses related to closed captioning. And it seems to be spread out in different offices and units.
We also wanted to know if closed captioning efforts are centralized or decentralized. And for about 40% of our campuses that responded, they said that no aspects of captioning are centralized at their institution. And this is supportive of what we know anecdotally in terms of institutions having different units creating different closed captioning solution options, hiring different vendors to help them with captioning, and not necessarily coordinating that across the campus.
But we did have several people respond that they have a centralized policy, a centralized operations team, or a centralized budget that exists for captioning. So there are institutions that are trying to move some of these things central in terms of decision-making or policy. We did have a few that didn’t know about these efforts.
We also asked, “when you think about the implementation of closed captioning across your entire institution, to what extent is it systematic?” And the largest number of people responded that it is not at all systematic– over 50% of our respondents. The next highest number was that it was somewhat. But we had very small numbers responding that it was systematic or very systematic across their institutions.
We also wanted to know a little bit about people’s approach to closed captioning, and specifically, if it was being done reactively or proactively. And you’ll see that the majority of institutions responded that it is more reactive than proactive, or that it is primarily reactive. So we had a little over 60% respond that it is more on the reactive side than it is on the proactive side. We had equal splits between institutions who thought it was primarily proactive, more proactive than reactive, or equally proactive and reactive.
So I’m going to shift to talking about some of the takeaways from the study. And now is a good time, if you do have questions, to start putting them in the questions box because we’re going to shift to that in just a minute. But some of the takeaways from this study is that there is still some confusion about the legal requirements for higher education institutions regarding the closed captioning of videos.
I think another takeaway is that despite the fact that the top reason for captioning is to be in compliance with the law, many institutions do not have processes in place to measure their compliance. At many institutions, different process, staffing, and criteria are being used to create closed captioning for videos that are being used in face-to-face courses, online courses, and for institutional purposes. And the majority of institutions in the study report that implementation of closed captioning across their institution is not at all systematic.
Just to remind you, there will be a full study report for this survey that’s available later in the fall. And this report will include additional results from the study, including more specific qualitative analyses about some of the barriers that institutions are finding for closed captioning. It will also include the survey instrument and data tables for all of the questions.
And everyone who’s registered for this webinar will be emailed when this report is available, and will also be emailed the student report, as well. So I’m going to go ahead and pause here. I’ll go back to the takeaway screen and see if there are any questions that I can respond to.
LILY BOND: Thanks, Katie. There are a lot of questions coming in. And I want to continue to urge people to type these in as we’re going through Q&A. But to begin, someone is asking, “are there any trends that you’ve seen among institutional subgroups, i.e., small versus large institutions, or public versus private?”
KATIE LINDER: That is a great question, and it was actually very similar to the question that we got about the student survey. And people were very interested in the student subgroups. This is part of our analysis that we’re actually doing right now.
So I can’t speak to any trends on this webinar. But it’s certainly something that if we do look at trends we’re going to be including in the report. So we’re going to do breakdowns based on the various demographics that we had in terms of enrollment size and in terms of the regional accreditation, where folks are.
But I think that that’s a really important point. And given the size of many of these institutions, the fact that they’re coming from larger campuses systems, obviously, creating a systematic effort for closed captioning may be significantly more difficult than for smaller campuses. So that’s certainly a question that we’re going to be looking into and that will be included in the report.
LILY BOND: Great. Thank you. Another question here. “Did you learn how many schools were using automatic captioning?”
KATIE LINDER: It was something that was included in some of the answers. That’s another great question. I would say that we saw a significant number of students that were using a third party, but we didn’t necessarily differentiate between how much of that was automated.
We did ask a couple of questions that was specifically about– like the question– let me go back to the screen that was talking about who is providing the captions. And you’ll see that automated software is one of the options– third from the right side of the screen. And you’ll see it’s a relatively small number given the number of institutions that responded to this study.
So we have only three institutions for the face-to-face, five for the online, and two for the institutional. So I think it’s, again, a relatively small number given how many people responded.
LILY BOND: Thanks, Katie. Someone is asking a related question. “Did you ask about what software institutions are using for captioning needs? And if so, which ones were noted?”
KATIE LINDER: We did not. There were some people who responded with specific responses in the qualitative, like they may have mentioned 3Play or another vendor. Specifically because this was a study that we were doing as a collaboration with 3Play, that was a component I think that we kind of intentionally left out because we were trying to get more of a general idea of what was going on, and not necessarily tie it to a specific vendor.
So no, that was not something that we asked specifically about. There’s a little bit of information that’s coming out of the qualitative. But I’m not sure it’s enough that we could say anything definitive, especially given that we didn’t ask directly for that.
LILY BOND: Thanks, Katie. Some people are asking in regards to the legal requirements, if you noted other laws other than Section 508.
KATIE LINDER: We did not. And this was actually something that we went back and forth quite a bit because the original version of the survey had a single-spaced page that described everything. And we went through in detail and said here’s what’s going on. We want to make sure we’re giving a full picture of this. And our concern was that people just wouldn’t read it. And the survey was already significant in terms of length. And we wanted to make sure that we were encouraging people to continue through the survey.
And so we made the judgment call to just provide the shorter response on that. What was on that slide that I presented was pretty much exactly what was on the survey before people went into questions about captions.
LILY BOND: Thanks, Katie. There are a couple of questions about effective closed captioning, and whether you provided a definition for that or whether that was subjective.
KATIE LINDER: Great question. So in a lot of parts of the survey, we left things open as broadly as possible. And in that case, we did not provide what “effective” meant. If we had done the student survey beforehand and we had the common hindrances, maybe that is something that we would have included, to say, is there quality assurance?
But for the case of this, we left it pretty open to interpretation, and wanted to just really get a sense of self-perception of how institutions were feeling about certain things. So you’ll see that a lot of this– I mean, the whole survey is really self-report. And a lot of people didn’t know the answers to the questions.
So I think that alone is an interesting component, that we had a lot of people who were just unsure of what was going on their campus. And so the subjectivity, I think, is definitely an important point to raise. In many cases, there was just one person answering this survey, although I do know that several campuses had a team of people who responded together to try to pool the information that they had.
LILY BOND: Thanks, Katie. Another question is referring to slide 21 and asking if you learned anything about how institutions were tracking video inventory.
KATIE LINDER: Just going to go back to this one so we have it in front of us. We did not ask specifically about how institutions tracked their inventory of videos. I do know that we asked a couple more specific qualitative questions for people that said that they had institutional initiatives around captioning.
We asked them to describe what those were. So there were a couple areas where we went into more detail. But for the video inventory, we did not. And again, I would point to the fact that the survey was already so long. And we really wanted to make sure that folks would get through the whole thing.
And I think that this points to one of the challenges of doing research about measuring the landscape of what’s going on with something like this across a nation. Besides from the fact our sample size was a little bit small here, I think that we’re trying to get at a lot of information that we only had anecdotal information for before.
So this data– we’re really pleased with it. But I think it just scratches the surface about what we need to know in detail about what’s going on in our campuses regarding closed caption compliance and the different practices that are being used.
LILY BOND: That’s a really great point. There are a lot of questions here. Some people are asking whether there was a differentiation for face-to-face classes between live captioning and closed captioning.
KATIE LINDER: No, there was not a differentiation for that. We did focus specifically on video. So I think that in many cases, there was a reference to video that was pre-recorded. And that was something that we used in the definition when we were talking about the compliance. So that was the direction that we were going, but we did not necessarily differentiate between those two things.
LILY BOND: Thanks.
KATIE LINDER: That’s a great question.
LILY BOND: Another person is asking if you know of the schools that said they’re captioning all of their videos, if any of them have had legal actions taken against them?
KATIE LINDER: We don’t. And that was not a question that we asked, in part because it could potentially help identify the institution, because there are a few schools that have been receiving significant media attention for that. We were very careful– and again, tied back to our IRB approval –that we did not do anything in this survey that would have people be identifiable, and even to the point where we didn’t ask who was responding to the survey in terms of their position title.
We wanted people who were responding to the survey to feel completely safe that they could say they didn’t know, or that they could say that they weren’t in compliance with these laws. So there is a lot of information in a more detailed way that we don’t know, and we purposely didn’t ask for to make sure that people would feel comfortable responding to the survey at all.
LILY BOND: Thanks, Katie. Someone is asking, “on slide 33, do you have clarification about what you mean by monitoring closed captioned compliance?”
KATIE LINDER: Sure. So I think that, again, this is one of those questions that we left open to interpretation. But what we were getting at here is, are you monitoring if there are videos that are closed captioned and videos that are not closed captioned? So if compliance is of concern to you, are you monitoring to any degree what is being captioned and what is not?
Now, for campuses that believed that accommodation is the requirement in terms of compliance, that monitoring would look different for their campus. So we left this open, again, based on what they definitionally thought was compliance for their campus. And we wanted to try to accommodate, for lack of a better word, the range of beliefs that people have regarding what closed caption compliance means for their institution.
LILY BOND: Thanks, Katie. This is a question that may be better answered in the report, but someone is asking if there’s the potential to get best practices from the schools that are captioning all videos.
KATIE LINDER: I would say it’s not necessarily something that we can answer in the report because it’s not data that we necessarily collected, but it was one of our original research questions. And I would say that makes an excellent part two, or even part three, depending on how you’re counting it, with our two different layers of the study that we have here with the students and the institutions.
It makes an excellent next step of what we need to be thinking about for what are the institutions that are doing this really effectively and efficiently that have created sets of policies, that have created a good sense of what does it mean to have effective captioning, maybe that have put quality assurance measures in place. What are the different kinds of best practices that we’re seeing? I think that that would be more helpful to do as a more qualitative study, where certain institutions are identified and then interviewed to find out more about what’s going on with their practices.
And that’s something that I think we also saw in the 2013 study. There were certainly institutions that were ahead of the curve in terms of thinking about some of these issues. And I think we would greatly benefit from knowing what are some of the things that they’re doing. So it may not come out in the report, but it’s certainly an area for research in the future.
LILY BOND: Thanks, Katie. Someone else is asking, “47% of the institutions don’t have a budget for captioning. Many community colleges are facing a budget crisis because of state disinvestment in higher ed. Has this study uncovered any places for colleges to find funding?”
KATIE LINDER: So that was definitely not part of this study, and not part of just the scope of what we were trying to figure out, because we were really looking internally to institutions to even find out what was going on there. I think it was actually surprising, as I noted on an earlier slide, that we had fewer people than I would have thought saying that budget was the reason that they weren’t able to provide closed captions.
And I would imagine that many institutions are getting quite creative about how they use student workers and various other components to ensure their closed captioning compliance. So that’s a question that I might actually push back toward 3Play, as thinking about ways that institutions can find funding for this. And it may be an area that they have looked into more than what this study has covered.
LILY BOND: Yeah, it is a great question. And it’s something that a lot of people struggle with. We do have a white paper that you can download on our website about sources of grants and funding for higher education, which has some resources that may be helpful. And people can download that on our website if they’re curious about that question specifically.
There are a couple more questions here that I think we should cover. You’ve mentioned a few times your article “Whose Job Is It?” And people are wondering if that is available online.
KATIE LINDER: It is available online. It may be only available via a database. So if your institution has access to “Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning”– if you are looking for it and you can’t find it, please contact me, and I would be happy to share a copy of that with you that’s just my personal author copy.
I think it’s something that we’ve gotten a lot of questions about it, and a lot of people have expressed a lot of interest in it. I think it was one of the first national studies that was really looking at how institutions in the US were really looking at online accessibility. So that is out.
The second article I mentioned, which is more specifically about centers for teaching and learning and offices of disability services– how they’re currently partnering and the challenges that they’re having in terms of online accessibility initiatives. That’s coming out in the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability in 2017. So if anyone wants to learn more about that, they can also contact me directly and I would be happy to chat with you more about some of the findings that we had in that article, as well.
LILY BOND: Thanks, Katie. I think we have time for one more question. Someone is asking whether or not there was any investigation into third-party purchased instructional content, and to what extent that content was captioned.
KATIE LINDER: That is such a great question. And no, we did not look into that. And I think it’s a great question. It’s something that we certainly ask here at Oregon State when we’re working with third parties on instructional content to find out– we ask more generally about just accessibility in terms of screen readability. But closed captioning is certainly a question that we ask, as well. Again, I would say that that’s another study in itself. And this one is just scratching the surface, as many of the questions are pointing out in terms of other things we need to be looking at.
LILY BOND: Thanks, Katie, and I totally agree this is scratching the surface, but it’s providing such great insight onto the current state of captioning in higher education. And this is really valuable as it is as a starting point for a larger conversation.
I think that’s about all for the questions coming in right now. So if you want to go through your end slides, I think now is a great time for that.
KATIE LINDER: Great. So I wanted to make sure that folks are aware of our third webinar that we’re doing related to this research. And that’s coming up on November 30. And we can include a link to that registration in the chat box.
But this is specifically about how different student subgroups are using closed captioning. And so we’re going to look specifically at how students with disabilities compare to students without disabilities regarding how they use closed captions and transcripts. And we’re also going to look at some other student subgroups, like students who use English as a second language, students who are Pell-eligible, students who have other disabilities aside from hearing impairment and how they might be using these different accommodations.
So we’re going to provide a lot more information about that on November 30. And that’s really, again, a continuation of the webinar that we did on September 15. So I want to remind folks that the replay and the transcript for that are available at the 3Play Media website if you want to view that before the November 30 webinar so you get a sense of just the baseline data that we have from that study.
I also wanted to make sure that folks are aware of an additional resource that’s produced through the Ecampus Research Unit, and that is a weekly podcast about topics and issues related to research more broadly in higher education. Full transcripts are provided for each episode, so they’re fully accessible for all listeners.
And I just want to thank everyone for joining us today for this webinar on how colleges nationwide are handling captioning. I appreciate so much your attention, and also the excellent questions that you asked us about this study. I’m happy to chat with any of you further if you want to connect with me via email or via Twitter. So thanks so much.
LILY BOND: Thank you so much, Katie, for a really great presentation, and for compiling all of this data into some really digestible information. We really appreciate, as always, having you on the line. And I hope that everyone has a great rest of the day.