To make media accessible you need to include transcripts or captions so that those with hearing difficulties are able to access all of the content.
About captions and transcripts
Captions are a synchronized text version of the spoken content of a video.
A transcript is a full text version of video or audio content that can be read either visually or by a screen reader. Transcripts can be searched by a web browser or other software, and scanned by a reader for important information.
A transcript should contain the words spoken in a video or audio clip, and may additionally contain descriptions, explanations or comments that may be beneficial. For example, a transcript of a video that shows children playing ball in a school gymnasium might describe the room and indicate when the teacher blows a whistle to get the students' attention.
Some video hosting platforms have automatic speech recognition (ASR) which automatically generate transcripts and captions but these may contain inaccuracies. It is also possible to use a separate captioning service which either used artificial intelligence to automatically generate transcripts and captions or the service can be provided by human captioners. More details about some of the options available both within UCL and externally can be found on the UCL Mediacentral captions pages.
Video hosting platforms
Listed below are the main services that are provided by UCL with details of the captioning and transcription facilities in each.
Lecturecast is UCL’s lecture capture service, the system behind this is Echo 360. Lecturecast now has ASR turned on for all new Lecturecast recordings so transcripts and captions are automatically available to students – guidance is available in the Lecturecast Resource Centre. You can, if you wish, edit the transcripts for accuracy, but this is not compulsory. You can also opt-out by removing a transcript once created – this is all covered in the guidance.
It is also possible for instructors and administrators to generate their own closed captioning files and to upload those manually generated file to captures. Guidance is available on the Echo 360 website.
Mediacentral is UCL's enterprise video portal, helping users to share and stream their media to enhance learning, teaching, research, promotional activities, training and improve communications. Mediacentral content can be shared just within UCL or to an external audience as well if required. Mediacentral does not have ASR but guidance on how to add content to Mediacentral including captioning files is available on the Mediacentral website.
Stream is the hosting platform where Microsoft Teams meeting recordings are automatically stored but you can also upload any other video. Stream content can only be shared with a UCL audience: either everyone at UCL, named individuals or a particular Microsoft Team. The platform has ASR and you can download the video and the associated transcript file once it has been generated and then upload it to another platform if required.
Creating your own videos
The following general guidance applies to creating and sharing your own video content.
Upload video transcripts or notes (where these already exist).
Often when you produce videos you will write a script, or notes to outline what you will cover. These can be very useful for students, especially those with disabilities. If you have this text it is good practice to upload a copy alongside your video. This may be in Moodle, or within YouTube or Vimeo.
A best practice guide on subtitling at UCL (2018) has been authored by Neil Roberts from the UCL Ear Institute.
Add visual descriptions
Visual, or audio descriptions are narration that describes actions on the screen, usually between pauses in dialogue, or sometimes during dialogue, if necessary. Here's how to add an audio description to YouTube videos.
Either use the built-in ASR on the platform you are using (if available) or use a separate service.
If you are presenting a video in class, it is best to find videos that are already captioned or have a transcript available. Consider finding alternative resources if the ones you currently use are not accessible.
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