Providing Closed Captioned Media in the Classroom

When your syllabus includes the use of VHS, DVDs, or online and digital media, it is necessary to determine if they are closed captioned. Captioning makes media accessible to students with hearing impairments by displaying all audio content in printed form on the screen, similar to the appearance of subtitles. All media that is shown in the classroom or posted on eLC needs to be accessible to all students.

How do I determine if my DVD or VHS is captioned?

Captioned materials are sometimes identified on the VHS/DVD box by a "CC" or small television icon. It is always necessary to verify whether the video is captioned.

  1. You can check the DVD/VHS yourself. Most televisions (unless manufactured prior to 1992) have a pre-installed closed caption decoder chip. Simply locate the caption option in your television's menu, turn on the captions, then watch 5-10 minutes of the video to check for captions.
  2. The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is able to assist you with determining if the video has closed captioning. CTL can be reached at (706)542-1582.
  3. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) can also check for captioned media. Call (706)542-8719 for assistance. IMPORTANT: If you would like the DRC to check a DVD/VHS for captions, please do so in advance so there will be time to make a closed captioned copy if necessary.

Do I need any special equipment in my classroom?

In order to display the encoded captions, you must request a closed captioned decoder or television set with captioning technology built-in. This decoding equipment is available by contacting CTL. Captions will not be visible without this equipment. Please contact CTL with sufficient time to ensure they can assist you. CTL has technicians on hand to assist you, if needed.

What do I do if my VHS/DVD is not captioned?

In the event that your VHS/DVD is not captioned, it is recommended you consider one of the following:

  1. CTL has access to a media library that covers a multitude of subjects. You may be able to obtain a captioned VHS/DVD that presents the information you are targeting.
  2. DRC has the capability to create a captioned copy of your VHS/DVD. Captioning is a time intensive process, so the DRC needs to receive the request at least 3-4 weeks before it is to be shown. Instructors must obtain permission from the copyright holder before the DRC can caption a VHS/DVD.
  3. In the event that a captioned VHS/DVD is not available, a transcript of the materials would be the only way for a hearing impaired student who does not utilize sign language interpreters to receive the information. With approximately 2 weeks advance notice, a transcript can be generated by the DRC in time for use concurrently with the video.

Can the DRC caption my digital media file?

Yes. The DRC can caption many types of digital media files (MP4, MOV, AVI, etc.), but the instructor must obtain permission from the video copyright holder. To submit a request for captioned digital media, please fill out the "Closed Captioning Request" form and deliver to the DRC with the media on a flash drive or CD.

If I have Sign Language Interpreters in my class, do I still need closed captioned media?

Yes. It is often difficult to accurately interpret videos/DVDs that are not captioned due to the speed at which information is transmitted, the length of the video, and the detail presented. While some of the information can be transmitted, some will be omitted. In addition, the student must look back and forth between the video and the interpreter, possibly missing information that is only transmitted visually. Therefore, closed captioning is still necessary even with an interpreter present. If captioning is not possible, a transcript could be provided to the student. The DRC needs approximately 2 weeks to produce the transcript.

I show online media (YouTube clips, Google videos, etc.) in my class.

All media that is shown in the classroom or posted on eLC needs to be accessible to all students. If you have a student enrolled in your class who requires closed captioning, online media will either need to be closed captioned or a transcript can be provided. Many online videos may be available with closed captions embedded already, so whenever possible, you should try to utilize online videos that are already captioned. In YouTube, users can search specifically for videos that have closed captions.

You can also search Google videos on a topic and sort by videos that are closed captioned.
At this time, the DRC is exploring ways to utilize emerging technology to caption online videos, and in the interim can provide transcripts. The DRC needs approximately 2 weeks to produce the transcript.

The video I want to show on YouTube is "auto-captioned." Will this work?

Right now, the text to speech technology that YouTube uses for auto-captioning is very much in development. In most cases, auto-captions are too inaccurate to be relied upon by someone who utilizes closed captioning. We recommend previewing the video with auto-captions before using this feature in the classroom because the auto-captions may not be accurate enough.

Additional resources for closed captioning online media.

Please contact the Disability Resource Center at (706)542-8719 if you have any questions or concerns about providing closed captioned programming.

Contact the DRC

Clark Howell Hall
825 South Lumpkin Street

VOICE: (706) 542-8719
FAX: (706) 542-7719
TTY: (706) 542-8778



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