Captioned Media

Captioned Media

Perimeter College Disability Services’ Captioned Media

Captions display spoken words on the screen, identify the speaker and include background sounds. Captions are specifically designed to allow people who are deaf or hard of hearing to follow the audio content of a video. However, captions are also beneficial to almost all viewers, improve learning outcomes for many students and are an integral part of universal design in instruction.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects disabled persons from discrimination including barriers to communication. The use of captioned media breaks down these barriers and equalizes communication access.

Who Benefits for Captioned Media?
The following individuals benefit from captioned media:

  • Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing must have captioned media in order to access the auditory and visual media from one location.
  • Individuals with learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or other cognitive impairments.
  • Individuals for whom English is their second language.
  • Individuals from other countries who view the college’s media productions.
  • Individuals who are taking notes may find it improves understanding and recall.
  • Individuals in the audience when variations of sound quality, acoustics or environmental noise create distractions.

Is Captioning Distracting for Viewers?
While showing captioned media when only a few persons in the viewing audience require it, a common concern is that the open captions may be a distraction to the rest of the audience or that the open captions interfere with the visual aspect of the media. In reality, most viewers adapt very easily to the captions and may even find them helpful.

Captioned Media Guidelines
Perimeter College has a Caption Policy for videos and multi-media used, created or purchased by the college. All videos or media that are purchased or developed by the college or by a department should be open or closed captioned. The open captioned format is recommended and preferred. The captions on open captioned media are always displayed, and no special equipment or setting is needed. Closed captioned media requires special equipment or menu setting to display the captions. The University System of Georgia has information about providing accessible media for individuals with disabilities.

Captioned Media Standards
Standards for accessible captions are available from the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP), funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the National Association of the Deaf. The standards are based on decades of research that analyze how to make the text accurate and accessible to viewers depending on the text for complete information. For information on captioning media, refer to How Do I Get Media Captioned?

Determining If Existing Media is Captioned:

  • DVD’s typically have a caption or subtitle option. It will normally be displayed on the DVD cover with a symbol such as CC. Select that option when showing the DVD in class. Most recent commercially produced videos are captioned.
  • In classrooms that are electronically equipped, use the menu for the media equipment to enable closed captions or subtitles to be seen. Try out the video on the equipment in the classroom prior to showing it in class to ensure that the equipment is working properly, and the captions are being displayed.
  • In classrooms without a permanently mounted projection, a caption-decoder in addition to the VCR must be used to display the captions. Please contact Instructional Media services.
  • In the auditoriums with AV technicians, the technician can turn on the captions from the equipment in their booth.
  • Clips from the internet, including YouTube, are often not captioned. The CC on YouTube that enables automatic captions is not acceptable. The captions are produced with voice-to-text software, and the results are very inaccurate and unacceptable for access.
  • Video clips taped from television programs will be closed-captioned if the program was produced with captions originally. To display these captions, refer to the second item above.
  • Older film and videos may not be closed captioned. Look on the original package for the CC symbol to determine if it is captioned or not.

Options If Existing Media is Not Captioned:

  • Ask for open captions as often as possible; it allows the media to be shown without special captioning decoder equipment.
  • Check with Galileo to see if the media is available in a captioned or subtitled version.
  • Check with the publisher of the text and online resources to see if their media is available with captions or subtitles.
  • Ask the library or media center for assistance in locating copies of the film or video with captions or subtitles.
  • Check with the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP), a free loan, open captioned media program, to see if the exact title or a video of similar content is available to borrow. The DCMP provides over 4,000 open captioned titles of videos, CD-Rom’s and DVD’s, and several hundred titles are streamed. There are no rental, registration or postage fees.
  • Ask Disability Services for assistance in obtaining accessible media or making it accessible for students.