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Penn State University

How does Penn State University use online video?

The Penn State University’s College of Arts and Architecture employs the e-Learning Institute, a unit dedicated to providing learning design support for faculty to develop online courses. As a college focused on art and design, streaming media play a critical role in the development and delivery of online courses. The institute has devoted significant resources toward managing their media assets and automating workflows by developing a media management server known as ELIMedia.

What is the motivation for captioning and transcription?

Penn State takes the accessibility and compliance of web content very seriously. The university has adopted the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA standards. Several of these standards focus on the need for captioning and transcription of video assets, which is where the ELIMedia Server application and 3Play Media’s captioning and transcription process come together.

What is the process and workflow?

As accessibility becomes increasingly important, having a simple, automated captioning and transcription workflow is a top priority for the e-Learning Institute. The ELIMedia Server provides a streamlined solution for faculty and staff who need to add captions or transcripts for video or audio. Users can select files for processing and the captions and transcripts are automatically re-associated with the media files after they are completed. The videos can then be embedded directly into a course through the integration of embed codes. Penn State University is continuing to work with 3Play Media to develop a fully automated workflow that minimizes manual intervention and would be scalable for a university-wide implementation. The ELIMedia Server uses Drupal for the front-end interface and Flash Media Server for the back end.

Why did Penn State University select 3Play Media?

The institute relies on 3Play Media because of a proven track record of producing high quality transcripts, as confirmed by manual verification. After processing almost 1,000 video/audio files, Penn State University submitted 10 random files for an audit of accuracy and quality. The results showed that all 10 files had 100% accuracy – they did not find a single error in any of the files. Another reason was that 3Play Media’s flexible APIs enabled Penn State University to streamline and automate the captioning and transcription workflow. Lastly, in addition to captions and transcripts, Penn State University plans to use 3Play Media’s interactive transcripts to make video content searchable and more engaging for students. This feature will be especially useful for Penn State University’s ESL students who will be able to follow along at their own pace.


3Play Media’s integration with the ELIMedia Server has produced a streamlined workflow and enabled the e-Learning Institute to reliably maintain compliance with various WCAG accessibility standards. Learning designers and faculty no longer need to manage the captioning and transcription aspects of video within their courses – allowing them to focus on the course content itself. While meeting the needs of accessibility, captions and transcripts have also provided alternative forms of content delivery, giving students the option to learn by watching a video or reading the text.

Screenshot of ELMS interface on a laptop

3Play Media has successfully integrated into the complex workflow that our Learning Design shop brings. Their results are consistently reliable and the level of service their team provides is rare to find. 3Play Media goes beyond just another captioning company, and provides us with the tools to be efficient and innovative at a cost that doesn’t burn our budget.

Michael Brooks
Penn State World Campus
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