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McBurney Disability Resource Center

Media Accessibility for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

Instructors who have students with documented hearing losses in their classes need to consider the accessibility of the media they plan to use. Instructors who intend to use DVD, VHS, or web-based videos and/or podcasts in their courses, should be be aware that they are responsible for offering accessible versions of this course material. (For more information, please see the memo from Vice Chancellor Darrell Bazzell and the Funding and Coordinating Accommodations for UW Students with Disabilities Policy which outline expectations regarding departmental responsibilities for funding these accommodations and the campus web accessibility policy.)

Videos are accessible when they are captioned. Podcasts are accessible when a written transcript accompanies the audio file. If a video is not captioned or a podcast does not have a transcript, instructors will need to arrange for an accessible version to be produced. Instructors should plan ahead by allowing anywhere from a week to several weeks for transcription and captioning services.

The McBurney Media Captioning Service is available to assist instructors with locating captioned videos, adding captions to videos, and showing videos with captions in classrooms and online courses for classroom materials. If there is a student in your class who is requesting captioning for media, media accessibility will be part of the initial discussion with you in planning for the student's accommodations.

Is Your Video Already Accessible?

  • Check to see if your video is already closed captioned or has subtitles. Subtitles need to include all the spoken information, not just the non-native language, for them to be helpful. If the video does have captions, please test the video in the classroom as far as advance as possible to determine how to turn the captions on and to get technical support as needed. In general new videos and newer media formats are more likely to have captions.

Campus Resources

Campus resources to assist in the delivery of accessible course materials include:
  • McBurney Media Captioning Service
    The Media Captioning Service can assist instructors with captioning and transcripts for classroom related materials. McBurney may also be able to provide secondary support with closed captions display issues in the classroom.
  • General Assignment Classroom Support
    For classrooms that have technology and are supported centrally through FPM, Classroom Support can provide information about the closed captioning support that is available and how to activate it.
    For classrooms that are not General Assignment Classrooms, please contact the departmental support specific to the classroom.
  • DoIT Accessibility
    Information about captioning
    DoIT's site lists information about captioning, including a comparison of available contract vendors for producing transcripts and caption files.

The McBurney Disability Resource Center is also available to assist you with other questions or concerns about how to include students with disabilities in your class. Please feel free to contact Kate Lewandowski (Accommodations Specialist for students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing) if you have additional questions or concerns about accessible media for students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing. Thank you for your assistance in creating an accessible learning experience for all of your students.

Resources for Transcripts and Captions for UW-Madison Non-Classroom Materials

Using one of the UW-Madison contract captioning vendors is often the quickest and most economical for others on campus to provide transcripts and captions for their own audio and video files. The vendors can transcribe the audio, sync the transcript for videos, and output the result in a variety of formats. The caption files then need to be embedded or linked to the video. They also provide support documents particular to the different media and file types. Caption files are available for a variety of common formats, including for Kaltura, YouTube, Flash, QuickTime, DVDs, and transcripts.

If you are a UW-Madison department, you can contact the McBurney Media Captioning Service to discuss how to get started for the particular type of media you are working with.

File last updated: July 17, 2017. 17:12:38 pm
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