Unit 2: Videos & UDL


Media & UDL | Unit 1: Universal Design for Learning | Unit 2: Videos & UDL | Unit 3: Images & UDL | Unit 4: Docs & UDL | Concluding Thoughts

Unit 2 Performance Objectives:

  • Learner will add to their growing list of resources and online communities with video-related items
  • Learner will identify three instances of missing or inappropriate captions on popular videos
  • Learner will discuss the ways in which the use of video content aligns with a UDL strategy
  • Learner will link relevant terms (subtitles, captions, etc.) with their definitions

What You'll Do:

  1. Read "Creating Accessible Video Content"
  2. Complete the activities
  3. Explore some of the resources included at the end of the module

Mini-Lecture: Creating Accessible Video Content

Section #1: Learn from a Student

Svetlana Kouznetsova is a successful young author, speaker, and consultant based in New York City. She holds multiple certifications, a master's degree, and graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with highest honors. And while these credentials demonstrate her work ethic, they do not provide a clear picture of the enormous effort she and her support network had to make in order to ensure that she would succeed as a deaf student.

In her book Sound is Not Enough: Captioning as Universal Design Svetlana recounts how her mother took the recordings Svetlana taped of the spoken content in her most difficult courses and transcribed every single word so that Svetlana had the visual representation she needed to understand the information. The concept of representations of information is a theme in her book, which is addressed to a wide audience including educators, business owners, and event organizers. When it comes to educational settings, specifically, Svetlana notes that multiple representations of information are useful for everyone (Morgan, 2015). Seeing as well as hearing the information presented in a video might be beneficial for someone who self-identifies as a "visual learner." It is also a strategy used frequently for language teachers, as the use of captions has shown to facilitate foreign language comprehension. A study from 2010, for instance, found that Spanish students who watched the same video two times with captions performed significantly better on a follow-up vocabulary test than their peers who watched the video twice with no captions at all (Winke et al., 2010, p. 75).

Section #2: Videos & UDL

In what way could the use of video content align with the principles of UDL?

Multiple means of engagement:

  • Many video players include controls that allow viewers to pause, fast forward, and go back to a certain place in the footage, making it easy for students to direct their own learning
  • The use of video to supplement text-based or lecture-based instruction may increase learner engagement, as it makes the learning experience more dynamic

Multiple means of representation:

  • The use of captioned video allows instructors to present the same information through audio, visuals, and text
  • Many video players come with controls that allow learners to customize the size of the window

Multiple means of expression:

  • Having learners create their own video content allows for a variety of modes of expression

In what way could the use of video content align with the principles of UDL?

As Svetlana's story demonstrates, learners with hearing impairments could be left out of the learning experience completely if video content is not accompanied by appropriate captioning

Section #3: More to Chew On

If you fall under the category of "average" user, you may be unfamiliar with the factors considered by the experts when creating meaningful video captions. Even if you do not use them yourself, it is important to know what types of captions are available so that you can plan your own captioning in a strategic way.

Accuracy Rate

Some video platforms include a tool that can generate captions based on the audio included in the video. Just because the tool exists, however, does not mean it is going to interpret every word correctly, or that it works just like the other caption generating tools on the market. As 3Play Media notes in their white paper on selecting caption vendors, generally speaking, "automatic speech recognition produces about 60-70% accuracy, which means that 1 out of 3 words are wrong" (p.2).

Caption Placement

This should be a given, but captions are of little use to anyone if they are placed directly in front of important visual information (3Play, p. 12).

Subtitles vs. Captions

The difference between subtitles and captions comes down to the viewer. While subtitles assume that the viewer cannot understand the language, captions assume that the viewer cannot hear. In practice, this means that captions would include a text description of essential nonverbal sounds, while subtitles would only include textual translations of what is spoken in a video.

Captions vs. SDH

SDH stands for "Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of hearing," and when including in a video file, they perform the same job as captions: provide text descriptions of speech and essential sounds. The difference between the two is HDMI compatibility. SDH can be turned on and off, just like closed captions, and is also compatible with HD, Blu-Ray, and other types of technologies that rely on an HDMI connection (Bond, 2014).

Synchronous vs Asynchronous

When you think of providing descriptions of video content, you are probably imagining the little bars of white text that are timed perfectly with the action of the video. Another option for providing the vital information in visual format is to write a transcript including whatever is spoken as well as "additional descriptions, explanations, or comments that may be beneficial, such as indications of laughter or an explosion" (WebAIM, 2013). While captions are synchronized along with the video, transcripts do not contain any sort of timing settings and can generally be accessed independently of the video. It is recommended that viewers are given the choice of reading captions or a separate transcript.

Closed vs Open

The difference between closed and open captions is very straightforward, yet oddly unrelated to the meanings that the two terms evoke. Closed captions exist as a distinct file from the video itself and can be turned on and off, while open captions are part of the video and therefore cannot be turned off. There are pros and cons to both types of captions, and your strategy will ultimately depend on the audience and the quality of the video platform you use. You may want to consider opting for open captions if you must use a video platform that does not include the components necessary to turn closed captions on and off. Alternatively, if you are concerned that the sharpness of the text in your open captions will be affected when the video is compressed, you may want to create a separate caption file for closed captions (University of Washington).

Caption Format

If you learn that the video platform you're using does not support SRT or SBV formats, try 3Play Media's free converter tool.

Unit 2 Activities

Knowledge Base Activity

In this activity, you will make your second contribution to the course knowledge base. Your mission is to search the Web for two video creation resources and add them to the knowledge base.

What counts as a "video creation resource?"
An appropriate resource would be any web-based content open to the public (aka available without subscription or membership) that could be used as a reference when creating video content.

Examples of resources include:

  • A video outlining the difference between video file formats.
  • A downloadable handbook on publishing videos on YouTube.

Scavenger Hunt Activity

Locate three instances of missing or inappropriate captioning online (in a video library like YouTube, or a standalone video embedded on a website) and add them to the scavenger hunt page. Using previous entries to the page as examples, note the accessibility error you have identified, and explain what you would do to fix the error. If possible, try to determine the type of tool you would need to make the appropriate edits.

Quiz Activity

In this activity, you will take the online quiz available on the 3PlayMedia website to test your understanding of closed captioning technology. Use the quiz results to direct your further studies into creating accessible video content.

Unit 2 Extra Resources

Caption Flowchart

The information presented in this image is also available in text format in the table below

Caption Flowchart - Text Version

The following table contains a series of yes or no questions for use in determining how to add the proper captioning to a video:
Question #1: Does this video player support closed captions?
Continue to question #2
Consider using a plug-in that will provide the same functionality
Question #2: Can I make my own captions?
Continue to question #3
Determine which caption files types the player supports and upload your own accordingly
Question #3: Can I edit the captions made automatically?
Consider using a plug-in that will provide closed captioning functionality
Make sure to review & revise captions as needed

Video Tutorials

References and Resources