Closed Captions on Instructional Video Benefits All Students

Accessibility Best Practices

If you use instructional video in your courses, are you providing your students with alternative methods of experiencing the video’s content, such as closed captions or text transcripts? You may be thinking, why is this important?

It is a Legal Requirement!

Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act obligates all schools or agencies receiving federal funds to provide accessible content, or comparable accessible versions of content, to learners with disabilities. This means that all instructional videos must have closed captions, transcripts, and be available in an accessible video player.

It Can Benefit All Learners

According to Educause Review, and Quality Matters Standard 8, all learners can benefit from closed captions for the following reasons.

  • Gives students a better chance at using and understanding content by supporting different learning styles and aiding comprehension.
  • Promotes engagement with video by allowing students to choose how they will experience the video’s content.
  • Minimizes language barriers – transcripts can be translated.
  • Supports viewing in situated learning environments – video can be muted and viewed in sound-sensitive environments.

What Can You Do?

For videos you created yourself that are under 15 minutes long, you may use YouTube’s built-in tools to host and add accurate closed captions. To learn more about video accessibility with YouTube, see our presentation and video accessibility rubric.

For videos you did not create yourself, contact the video’s copyright owner to inquire about obtaining the video in a closed captioned format. You cannot add closed captions to videos to which you do not have copyright permission.

Lastly, you may consider adopting online videos that are already prepared with closed captions, such as those provided through Films on Demand.