Captioning Videos

California Community Colleges are bound by Federal law and California state law to ensure that all courses be made accessible to students with disabilities. Any video you use in your course must comply with the following guidelines.

Captions must:

  • Be 99% accurate, reflecting the speaker’s exact words with correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
  • Appear at the same time the speaker’s words are spoken and not display too fast for viewers to read.
  • Display from the start of the video to the end.
  • Not block important content and be a readable font size.

For more information, visit the US Laws for Captioning Online Video article by 3PlayMedia.

Using Videos Created By Others

If you use videos created by others, be sure to check for accurate captioning.

Note that YouTube videos that are auto-captioned most likely do not meet the accessibility guidelines regarding accuracy. Auto-captioning is denoted by nested parentheses like this: (((this is auto-captioning))).

When you search for videos to use in your courses, you can filter your search to only include Closed Captioned videos. For more information, visit the Searching for Captioned Media within YouTube and Google Video instructions from Portland Community College.

What if you find a perfect video for your course, but it isn’t captioned? You can use the following services:

  • The Distance Education Captioning and Transcription grant (DECT) provides California Community Colleges with funding for captioning and transcription services. You must obtain permission from the copyright holder of the video. The Instructional Technology Center maintains this grant and will submit videos to be captioned if permission has been granted. Contact Shauna Jordan for more information.
  • You can caption a video yourself using Amara. It is a violation of copyright to download a video and then re-upload it to YouTube so that you can add your own captions. However, with Amara you are not violating copyright because you are not altering the existing video but rather overlaying captions on the video hosted by Amara.

Captioning Your Own Videos

For the videos you create, you can provide accurate captioning by uploading a script along with your video on YouTube. For more information, view the Transcribe Videos and Create Closed Captions article by 3PlayMedia. You can also learn more about creating videos and captioning in the Making Effective Instructional Videos course offered free through @ONE for Training.