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Do you YouTube? Don't forget to add captions
July 21, 2010 - 3:18pm

According to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), "It is essential that the Web be accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with disabilities." One of the most overlooked aspects of accessibility on the web is the inclusion of captions within embedded videos. It is fairly common to see embedded videos on student affairs websites. Videos run the gamut from admissions promotional videos, financial aid FASFA tutorials, academic advising registration guides, dean of students introductions, and orientation welcome clips.

YouTube is the most prevalent video site on the web. Scores of institutions post videos on YouTube. Embedding videos into student affairs Web sites is quite easy to accomplish. However, the majority of videos that are embedded on student affairs sites do not have captions for hearing impaired users. I think that this is most likely due to the fact that while disability services departments have done a great job of educating their colleagues, they cannot be the "accessibility police." Accessibility requires a community. With a little bit of knowledge, student affairs practitioners can create, upload, and embed accessible videos with captions.

One of my favorite sites for creating video captions is dotSUB. Creating captions with dotSUB is a fairly simple process:

--Upload a low-res version of your video (you can upload a hi-def version to YouTube) to dotSUB.

--Create a time coded transcript of the video.

--Export the transcript/caption file.

--Login to YouTube, click on "My videos, then click Captions next to the video that you just transcribed. Upload the time coded transcript file. Congratulations! You've just captioned your first video.

Here's a terrific example of what you can do with captions on YouTube:

Google has created an automatic captioning system for YouTube and it does a decent job of auto-captioning. However, it is not perfect. Until Google perfects this technology, I would recommend that you create your own captions.

One of the most popular admissions videos on YouTube was created by Yale University. The video has more than 600,000 views, was an instant viral success, and is fully captioned:

Do you embed videos on your student affairs web site? Do you add captions to your videos? While I have never used it, I've heard that CaptionTube is another great service for captioning YouTube videos. What other sites would you recommend for creating video captions?

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