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Module 3: Locating Captioned Videos & Creating Your Own

Captions on videos have benefits that extend beyond individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. In this module, you will have the opportunity to learn how to find videos with captions, identify quality features, and create your own captions on a practice video.

This module is composed of a recorded webinar and up to four hours of additional activities. Each level has a time commitment of approximately one hour. Choose how many levels you complete by the amount of time you want to spend developing your skills.

Begin by watching this one-hour webinar, which explains:

  • Definition of key terms
  • Benefits of captions
  • Standards and best practices for evaluating the quality of captioned content
  • Sources of high-quality captioned content to support learning

Digital Handout (MS Word)

Webinar Slides (PowerPoint)

Level 1: Start

Goal: Explain the importance of captions to a colleague.
Time Commitment: 2 hours (including the one-hour webinar)

Build Understanding

Reflect & Take Action

Start by making sure you have the sound turned off on your computer or mobile device. Next, search YouTube for a captioned video on a subject other than what you teach, or choose a topic that is new to you. Turn the captions off and watch the video without the sound turned on.

After watching the video without the sound or captions, turn them on and watch the video one more time. Reflect on your experience with the following questions:

  • What did I miss when the sound and captions were turned off?
  • How crucial is what I missed to understand the topic?
  • What would happen if I were assessed on this content without the benefit of the captions?

Share your experience with a colleague who uses video in instruction. Explain the difference that captioning makes in your ability to perceive content.

Level 2: Reach

Goal: Select videos with high-quality closed captions.
Time Commitment: 3 hours (including the one-hour webinar and the Level 1 activities)

Build Understanding

Reflect & Take Action

Select a video you have used (or plan to use) for instruction. Evaluate the quality of the captions by asking the following questions adapted from the Captioning Key:

  • Accuracy: Are there any parts of the video where the captions do not match what was said? Are non-dialog sounds that are essential for understanding included in the captions (e.g., traffic noises, a dog barking, wind blowing, a machine powering up)?
  • Consistency: Are the captions presented in a consistent way throughout the video? Are speaker identification, background sounds, and other elements of the captions handled the same way throughout?
  • Clarity: Is speaker identification included, making it easy to know who is speaking when there are multiple people on screen?
  • Readability: Is the timing or pace of captions sufficient for reading? Are the captions in sync with the video's audio track? Are they obscuring any of the content in the video? Alternatively, are they obscured by any of the content in the video?

After you have evaluated the video you selected, choose a new video from one of the sources listed in Teaching with Accessible Video and perform a similar evaluation. How do the first and second videos compare? How did this activity change your perspective about the importance of high-quality captions?

Level 3: Stretch

Goal: Create your own captioned video.
Time Commitment: 4 hours (including the one-hour webinar and the Level 1 & Level 2 activities)

Build Understanding

Reflect & Take Action

Caption your own video:

  1. Download the practice video file. It is a short clip about basketball player Wilt Chamberlain that is available as a public domain resource (this means copyright law no longer applies).
  2. Upload the video file to your own YouTube account. Choose from one of the following methods to add captions:
    • Edit the automatically-generated captions. Make sure they include the proper punctuation, descriptions of background sounds that are essential for understanding, and other elements of quality captions described under Level 2. 
    • Install CADET and use it to caption the practice video and export a caption file in one of the formats YouTube supports (WebVTT, SubRip or SubViewer). Follow the directions for uploading the caption file to YouTube.

Once your video is captioned, compare it to the captioned version of the video on the AEM Center’s YouTube channel. How did you do? What are the differences between your captions and the AEM Center version? What impact will this activity have on your future video captioning practice?

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