SAS works with faculty to provide accessible media to students who require this as an accommodation. SAS is available to consult on questions related to accessible media in other situations but do not provide captioning services to IC staff, faculty, or departments.

Audio and Video in the Classroom

What does it mean to have accessible audio and video?

  • Accessible audio files – have a transcript file
  • Accessible video files – have captions, a transcript, and possibly audio description as well

The best, and most efficient way to ensure that media is accessible, is to choose media that already has captions and/or a transcript for use in class. It is easy to review files to determine whether they are captioned. Library records for all videos indicate whether captions and/or subtitles are available in the “Language Note” field.


CC provides a visual representation of all audio, including words and other sounds (i.e., “dog barking” or “loud explosion”). Captions are designed for viewers who cannot hear the audio. The “closed” part of “closed captions” means that the captions can be turned on or off. Open captions, on the other hand, are integrated into the video itself and cannot be turned off. Captions should be:

  • Accurate (~99%)
  • Synchronized to the audio
  • Readable
  • Positioned on screen so they do not block important information

The purpose of subtitles is to translate spoken audio into a language understood by the viewer. Subtitles are designed for viewers who can hear but who do not understand the language used in the video.

Transcripts are text representations of audio presented as a separate document or file.

Also called “described video,” AD is an audio track that narrates the relevant visual information that’s contained within a video. AD is an accommodation for blind and low-vision viewers. Standard AD inserts narration into a video without altering the length of the video. Extended AD pauses the video where necessary to include additional information or description. SAS typically delivers videos with standard AD.

Accessible Media Accommodation

SAS contacts faculty before the start of a semester if a student in their class requires accessible media as an accommodation. SAS works with faculty to determine whether they plan to show any videos in class and will obtain access to any videos that require CC or AD (or audio files that require transcripts, such as podcasts or recorded interviews). Each student who has “accessible media” as an accommodation has a very specific set of needs. Students might only need long videos to be captioned or, if a student is completely deaf, all material must be captioned. We tailor all requests to the specific needs of the student.

Creating accessible media can be a time-consuming process so videos are requested as early as possible.

To process videos, SAS requires:

  • Video title and library number (if applicable)
  • Access to the video (through the library, a YouTube link, a video file, etc.)
  • The date the video will be used in class

SAS creates accessible media files and makes them available prior to the date the video is required. Videos are typically delivered via Kaltura ( SAS will alert both faculty and students when the video is available.

If SAS is unable to obtain and fully process a video before it is shown in class, students have two options:

  1. They can choose to not have the video captioned. This might be appropriate if the video is short or is not a crucial part of the curriculum.
  2. They can request that SAS caption the video.

Handling of last-minute requests happens on a case-by-case basis and depends on both the content of the video and the preference of the student.

Creating Accessible Media Workshop

On December 15th, 2020, SAS hosted a workshop on Creating Accessible Media. The session was designed specifically for faculty who have students in their class who require accessible media and included information about the role faculty play in fulfilling student accommodation needs and the different resources on campus for creating accessible media.  

Note: There are four caption files available for this video. To view the captions. start the video then click the "CC" button. Use the Settings gear to switch between different caption options.

  • "SAS Captions" represent the edited captions for the workshop.
  • "Zoom auto-captions" are the original captions downloaded with the Zoom recording.
  • "Kaltura auto-captions" are the auto-captions created within Kaltura.
  • "Auto-generated" are the YouTube automatic captions.

Recording of the "Creating Accessible Media" workshop hosted December 15, 2020. 

file-outline Creating Accessible Media Presentation - creating-accessible-media-2020-12.pdf (444.55 KB)

Slides from the Creating Accessible Media presentation.

Learn More

More information about captioning can be found in our Captioning 101 guide. If you have any additional questions, email