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Screencast Captioning Information from EDUCAUSE

Last week I attended the EDUCAUSE conference in Denver Colorado. This was my first time to attend this conference which is intended for education professionals involved in information technology. The conference provided a variety of programming options, many of which were insightful looks at the information technology culture in higher education.

One of the major projects that we are working on at the NN/LM SCR office has to do with ensuring that all content on our website is Section 508 compliant. Every government website and all content posted on government sites must be fully accessible. Also any online content or material created by funded by awards from the NN/LM SCR must meet the same standards outlined in Section 508. This includes making sure that all video content posted on our site is captioned. At EDUCASUE I attended several sessions on accessibility, one specifically focusing on video captioning options.

Presenter David Giberson serves as the Instructional Design Coordinator for San Diego Community College District and provided a good overview of products as well as “Caption It Yourself” (CIY) tools. Giberson reminded the audience that captioning is a two-step processing involving 1) creating a transcript of the audio soundtrack and 2) syncing the text to the correct place in the video. Creating a transcript can often be the most time consuming task of captioning however, it can be made easier by following a written script. If you do not write out a script you will need to use a product that can transcribe your speech. There are many products and even paid service vendors that provide help with transcription.

Giberson provided information on several products from Tech Smith, which included Camtasia Studio and Camtasia Relay. He also provided information on free options for adding captions though YouTube and demonstrated using Amara to caption another user’s YouTube video.

Giberson also provided the following tips for captioning screencasts:

Closed Captioning logo

  • Microphone quality: You will likely get better results from the auto-transcription engines when using a better quality microphone.
  • Using proper sentence structure: Another way to get better results from the auto-transcription engines is to use proper sentence structure and grammar in your recordings.
  • Using a script: One way to make the captioning process easier is to write out the script before doing the recording. The transcription step, then, is taken care of and it’s just a matter of syncing it to the video afterwards.
  • Find a Workflow for You: You may find that you have several options when it comes to recording and captioning your instructional media. Don’t let this be overwhelming. Find a workflow that you are comfortable with and that works well for you.

A full list of resources, guides, and captioned screencasts of many of the products can be found on the San Diego Community College District Online Learning Pathways Captioning site.

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