For Students > Support Programs > Disability Resource Center > For Faculty > FAQs > When is it okay to use un-captioned video in the classroom?

When is it okay to use un-captioned video in the classroom?

Here's the short answer: Never!

All video material used in the classroom must be captioned so that it is accessible to students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. This includes DVDs, VHS tape, YouTube clips, streaming video, and DVR TV programs. You do not have to display the captions every time, but the materials should be caption-ready, in case you get a request.

For that reason we recommend that familiarize yourself with the equipment in each classroom, so you know how to toggle the captions on and off.

All the material in the Library, and all of the material in your Department should already be captioned. If you want to purchase new materials for your department, they must be captioned. If they are not, look for an alternative product that is captioned. If you cannot find a suitable alternative, and you really want to use a particular product, contact the Alternate Media Specialist to arrange captioning.

Is all this really necessary? Often faculty get irritated by the constraints of the captioning regulations, because it requires planning, expense, and sometimes a lot of tense fiddling around with the equipment. It can also inhibit spontaneity: If you find a great YouTube clip, you can’t show it the next day; you have to wait for Alt. Media to caption it up. Other faculty have concerns because they believe that captions detract from the viewing experience. Consider the following:

  • With the wide-screen technologies, and newer software players, the captions display below the picture, not on top of it.
  • Captioning does not detract from the learning experience, it adds to it.
    • Students both see and hear the information, which helps students with diverse learning styles.
    • Captioning boosts learning for ESL students.
    • It boosts learning of new vocabulary words. (And how to spell them!)
  • You do have Hard of Hearing students in your class, you just don’t know it. One in ten Americans already has hearing loss, and the percentages are rising among younger students, due to the widespread use of IPods and MP3 players. Students with hearing loss are reluctant to self identify because of stigma; most of them do not register with the DRC. Just because you didn’t get any “Letters of Accommodation,” don’t assume they're not out there.

Created: March 11, 2009 @ 05:46 AM
Last Modified: May 06, 2009 @ 11:53 AM


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