For a variety of disciplines, multimedia content can be a great way to help convey ideas to students. Multimedia may also appeal to individual learning preferences. Although multimedia content is a common course component, it is not as accessible as ordinary text-based content, due to restraints for students with visual and hearing impairments, students who are not native English speakers, and students with internet bandwidth constraints.
Two approaches stand out for making audio and video content more accessible.
Create accurate captions for multimedia content. Timed text captions are essential to conveying spoken words and sounds in videos that include audio. Students with hearing impairments and those whose native language is not English will greatly benefit from captioned video.
USask’s video platform, Panopto, automates the process of caption creation. Follow these steps to generate captions:
- Sign into Panopto
- Open “My Folder” to access your videos
- Hover your mouse over a video and click “Edit”
- After your video loads, click “Captions” on the left
- Click “Import captions”
- Click “Import automatic captions”
- NOTE: If this option does not appear, you may need to wait; it can take up to 24 hours after a video is uploaded for captions to generate
- Review the captions for errors (e.g., punctuation, capitalization, word detection) and click to edit, where necessary
- Click the green “Apply” button in the top right
Live captions can also be offered during Zoom meetings. While Zoom calls the feature “Live Transcript”, the function acts the same as captioning, converting speech into on-screen text. Here’s how to enable captions in your Zoom meetings:
- Click “More” at the bottom of the Zoom window
- Click “Live Transcript”
- Click “Enable Auto-Transcription”
Create detailed transcripts for multimedia content. Similar to captions, transcripts convey the spoken words and sounds found in audio, although a transcript includes all audio content written out in paragraphs, rather than timed to a video. Transcripts can be offered for either video content with audio, or for audio-only content (e.g., podcasts).
Any captions generated by Panopto can be downloaded, edited, and distributed as a transcript. Follow these steps to download your captions file:
- Sign into Panopto
- Open “My Folder” to access videos you have already uploaded
- Hover your mouse over a video
- Click “Settings”
- Click “Captions”
- Click the language of your captions, under “Available Captions”
- Click “Download file”
When sharing a transcript for multimedia content, include additional detail to make it easier to read, such as headings to break up the content.
To help clean up Panopto caption exports and use them as transcripts, try editing them using Notepad++. Follow these steps to strip all timecodes from your transcripts:
- Open the file with Notepad++
- Press CTRL+Home (or COMMAND+Home on Mac) to put your cursor at the start of the file
- Press CTRL+H (or COMMAND+H on Mac) to open the “Replace” window
- Copy and paste the following text into the “Find what” field: ^\R?(\d+)\R\d\d:\d\d.+\R
- Leave the “Replace with” field blank
- Check “Match case” and “Regular expression,” only
- Click “Replace All”
For more on creating captions and transcripts using tools built into Panopto, see also the following blog post from the USask Distance Education Unit: Improve Your Video Content with Captions and Transcripts.
For more information and USask-specific supports for using Panopto, see the Learning Technologies Ecosystem (LTE) website.
Find a recorded lecture in Panopto and import the automatic captions. Skim the captions for major errors and apply your changes.