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Tacoma Community College

Christopher Soran, eLearning Director at Tacoma Community College, presented his college’s closed captioning solution in the webinar, How to Implement Accessible Lecture Capture.

Tacoma Community College is a 13,700-student community college located in Tacoma, Washington. Their captioning solution sets an example for institutions of higher education to proactively caption their lecture capture recordings.

Why Tacoma Captions Videos

Aside from the legal reasons for captioning content in higher education, Tacoma Community College strives to build a proactive framework for disability accommodation support. It chose a proactive approach to closed captioning so that all students, faculty, and staff can benefit from greater video accessibility.

Tacoma’s Captioning Workflow

Tacoma’s closed captioning process looks like this:

  1. Students, faculty, and staff visit a support site to submit a captioning request.
  2. eLearning staff intake and process those captioning requests.
  3. Videos are sent to 3Play Media for transcription and captioning. Because Tacoma uses the Panopto integration, captions appear on lecture videos in Panopto automatically.
  4. The eLearning staff track the captioning process in a spreadsheet to keep an eye on which classes or content have or haven’t been captioned.

How Tacoma Stays Ahead of Accommodation Requests

One of the most stressful parts of making courses accessible is the immediacy of an accommodation request. By captioning course content before an accommodation request is received, Tacoma Community College saved themselves a headache — and some money.

Over the summer, the eLearning office captioned two biology courses that had dozens of videos. Since they had plenty of time, they submitted the videos to 3Play Media with the 10-day extended turnaround option for a discount on captioning.

When fall quarter came around, the instructor had two letters of accommodation requests for captioning videos in the class. And she was able to just say, “That’s fantastic. The videos are already captioned.”

This was a win for everyone: the instructor felt prepared, the students were able to access resources right away, and the eLearning office saved money because they didn’t have to submit a rush order on captioning.

How Tacoma Prioritizes Which Course Content Gets Captioned

When budget is a limiting factor, administrators must decide which content gets captioned. Obviously specific accommodation requests will take priority. But aside from those, Tacoma’s eLearning office encouraged professors to caption reusable content.

They meet with faculty to identify what content they will be using from quarter to quarter and make sure that gets captioned. They get the best bang for their captioning buck that way.

Next, they target the top 100 most-enrolled classes. Again, this strategy allows the maximum number of students to benefit from captioning as the office works its way through their video archives.

How They Pay for Captioning

Tacoma Community College benefits from administrative buy-in for proactive captioning. Their eLearning department is able to fund the captioning with department funds.

If you’re just starting out with captioning at your college, they recommend asking for $10,000 to start.

Develop a workflow based on how the captioning requests come in; you can measure captioning efforts and gauge demand to justify future budget requests.

Why Tacoma Community College Chose 3Play Media

Tacoma Community College uses the Panopto lecture capture system, Limelight Content Delivery Network, and Kaltura.

3Play Media integrates with all of these content management systems. That really reduces the friction of managing captions, since caption requests and fulfillment can be automated and out-of-sight.

tacoma community college logo on a laptop
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