Spring semester updates & COVID info Roadrunner Roadmap

Home / Blog Post / Captioning: The First Step to Improve Video Accessibility


By Vanessa Garza
Learning Experience Accessibility Specialist

Open laptop with earpods on notebook - Captioning: The First Step to Improve Video Accessibility

Even after the return to more face-to-face classes, we know that online courses are not going away. Many faculty face the dilemma of creating a strong instructor presence in their online courses. One of the easiest solutions is to create videos for course content. However, videos can create an accessibility barrier for many learners for varying reasons. How can you make this content accessible? The UTSA Digital Accessibility Team offers the following best practices for developing accurate and synchronous captions.

Accessible video content consists of 3 essential components:
  1. Accurate and synchronous captions.
  2. Accurate and purposeful audio descriptions.
  3. Accessible and informative resource materials.
Options for Captions

Ensuring your video content is accurately captioned allows for viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing to access the content. It’s also important to know that about 80% of people who utilize captions have no reported hearing loss! Captioning improves content retention and understanding and can be beneficial for learners for whom English is not their first language. Captioning also allows users to watch videos in noisy environments.

We have compiled 3 ways to add captions to your videos.

Option 1 – Start with Machine-generated Captions

Record or upload your video to our UTSA supported video platform, Panopto. Panopto will automatically create machine-generated captions. Most machine-generated captions require editing because captions should be accurate and synchronous. You can adjust timing and caption text using Panopto.

UTSA Panopto Tutorials and Resources 

Option 2 – Sync a Prewritten Script

If you have a script for your videos, you can use YouTube to sync the script with the video. NCDAE – Captioning YouTube Videos provides steps on this process. Once you have synced the captions, we recommend downloading your video, and the caption file, and uploading them to the UTSA Panopto platform.

Option 3 – Apply for Caption Editing Support

Planning to use asynchronous, instructor-created video content (not recordings of live class sessions) for more than one semester? You can apply for Digital Accessibility Caption Editing Support! The application takes less than 15 minutes and is open until May 4th or until we have exhausted our funding for this project.

Incorporating videos into your courses is a great way to guide students as they learn the course objectives. It is important to remember all students have different needs to be successful. Proactively creating accessible videos will increase engagement and help your content reach more students.

Have questions?

Please contact us at DigitalAccessibility@utsa.edu. We can show you best practices and connect you with available support programs to decrease or remove accessibility barriers in your course.

Don’t forget to join Academic Innovation’s Upcoming Webinars, or contact academicinnovation@utsa.edu – 210-458-4520.   We’re here to help! 
For more review: