CTLT

Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology

Instructional Continuity: Captioning for Live and Recorded Lectures

Video with closed captionsAny one of an array of events can disrupt faculty’s ability to teach courses via on-campus, in-class sessions. Cal Poly’s commitment to students includes making sure that we provide the opportunity to complete courses despite disruptions, whenever possible. Using captioning in synchronous and asynchronous teaching is inclusive of all learners as it supports access for students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, visual learners, English Language Learners, and students with ADHD or learning disabilities. There are user-friendly and easy ways to do this. Below you will find resources and tutorials to get started.

Overview

Please also see:

As we transition to remote instruction, instructors may be delivering live lectures and presentations via ZOOM. Live lectures can create challenges for students in the online learning environment, and providing real-time captions can improve comprehension for many students. If a student who is deaf/hard of hearing has an accommodation need for live captioning, Disability Resource Center staff will notify their instructors via email, and coordinate with them to get a live captioning service in place. For the spring 2020 quarter, the DRC has provided students needing live captioning accommodation with their own Otter.ai accounts, so they can access live captions on their own.

Instructors may also be using Screencast-O-Matic, Camtasia, or ZOOM to record lectures or instructional videos to explain concepts, demonstrate processes, and illustrate complex ideas. Whichever tools and methods you choose, providing closed captions with your recorded videos ensures the best experience for your students.

Learn more about how captions can improve learning for all students: National Research Study: Student Uses and Perceptions of Closed Captions & Transcripts (Oregon State University, 2016) (PDF Version: National Research Study)

Learn more about how students with disabilities are experiencing the transition to remote instruction: Inside Higher Ed Roundup for April 13: Scroll down to find the  author's interview with Stephanie Cawthon, of the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes and the University of Texas.

ZOOM: Synchronous Lectures and Presentations

OVERVIEW

See also: Instructional Continuity: ZOOM

Using captioning in synchronous and asynchronous teaching is inclusive of all learners as it supports access for students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, visual learners, English Language Learners, and students with ADHD or learning disabilities, among others. There are some very user-friendly and easy ways to do this. Below you will find resources and tutorials to get started. We hope you will explore these options when you have time; and know you can reach out to us for help at any time.

ZOOM SETTINGS

You can record your live lectures to the cloud, and select options in your ZOOM settings that will make it easy to create automatic transcripts and closed captions after the recording is posted. This is especially important for students who are deaf/hard of hearing, and also for students who may have missed the lecture, and students who rely on captions as a study aid.The following resources can help you select your ZOOM settings before you begin your live lectures:

TIPS TO GET STARTED

  1. Regardless of which option you choose for delivering lectures,a good microphone is key for the best possible speech recognition accuracy. Samson Go mic is usually available on Amazon for around $30. If you plan to record at your laptop, you may be able to get by with simply using the web cam's microphone. But if you plan to walk around, you'll get better results with a microphone like the Samson Go mic or by wearing a wireless mic.
  2. Verbally describe content in the slides or screens you are sharing with students. Sometimes there is degradation of video quality during screen shares, so this practice is especially important for online instruction. 
  3. Allow students to ask questions in Zoom's chat interface; instructors should get in the habit of repeating those questions for all students attending via Zoom, as there may be some students who can't see the questions.

ZOOM: Options for live (real-time) captioning

OTTER.AI

Video Demo from Otter team: Live transcribe Zoom meetings with Otter for Teams (must have a Team account)

Video Demo for Cal Poly users: Using Otter Teams account with Zoom for Live Captioning (must have a Team account)

Video Demo for Cal Poly users: Using Otter free account with Zoom for Live Captioning (to use with a free account)

Steps for Setup: Setting up and using Otter's Live Transcription in Zoom Meetings [PDF]

Otter.ai has an excellent live captioning feature. Cal Poly DRC purchased a limited number of Otter licenses to loan out to Deaf and Hard of Hearing DRC students during class for real-time captioning of lectures. Instructors can use Otter as well by creating your own account, that includes a free version with limited minutes. Then you can use Otter with ZOOM to provide live captions during a ZOOM lecture for all of your students. To do this, just open two windows, side by side, to display your presentation on the left side, and the Otter live transcription on the right side. Now all students can follow along. Alternately, you can share the Otter link with your students directly, so they can follow along on their own devices if they wish. Additionally, Otter can provide transcripts for audio recordings such as podcasts and interviews.

If you are interested in using Otter’s integrated Live transcription for Zoom, you can purchase an Otter for Teams license. That license subscription can be purchased on a monthly or annual basis. Alternatively, you can purchase a license for Otter Premium (educational discount is $4.99/month) and then you can manually share the link to Otter’s live transcription of your lecture with your students (e.g., post your live transcription link in Zoom chat or email it to your students).

Otter pricing plans

Otter pricing plans include a Free plan and a Premium plan. The Otter Help Center provides a comparison of plans with instructions for using Otter’s various features. The Free plan gives you 600 minutes of free transcription per month, allows transcription of videos up to 40 minutes in length, and up to 3 video/audio file uploads per month. By contrast, the Premium plan gives you 6,000 minutes of transcription per month, allows transcription of videos up to 4 hours in length, and an unlimited number of video/audio file uploads per month.

Otter and accents

Otter speech recognition recognizes a wide range of accents with English spoken as second language. They are leading in the industry with transcription with heavy accents, transcribing in noisy environments, and real-time transcription speed.

PRESENTATION TRANSLATOR FOR POWERPOINT

Presentation Translator for PowerPoint provides an easy option to have the subtitles feature turned on, but not displayed for everyone, so individual students can choose to view them on their personal devices. DRC recommends all instructors using PowerPoint should at least turn on subtitles, then they can decide if they want to show them automatically to all students or let individual students decide if they want to see them on their own devices. Presentation Translator automatically creates a QR code and link that an instructor can share with their students at the beginning of the presentation. The link allows students to see the subtitles live on their own devices in addition to seeing the subtitles on the PowerPoint during the lecture. Students who have never used this before might try it and find it helpful. This is an easy way to promote inclusion in the online environment.

Presentation Translator Languages

Presentation Translator allows a speaker (e.g., instructor) to speak in any of the 10 supported speech languages – Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish – and subtitle into any one of the 60+ text translation languages. This could be helpful for world language instructors who are teaching any one of the 10 supported dictation languages above. (Otter currently only supports English.) So when it comes to using one of these tools for live captioning, world language instructors are better off using Presentation Translator.

GOOGLE SLIDES

Google Slides live captioning: When you present Google Slides, you can turn on automatic captions to display the speaker's words in real time. This feature is available on Chrome devices in U.S. English. 

MICROSOFT TEAMS

Microsoft Teams also offers live captioning. With live captions, Teams can detect what’s said in a meeting, and present real-time captions for anyone who wants them.     

Closed Captioning for Asynchronous (Recorded) Presentations

Instructors can record lectures and screencasts with Screencast-O-Matic, Camtasia, or ZOOM. We recommend Screencast-O-Matic due to its ease of use and editing features. Videos can be hosted on these sites, or in YouTube, Vimeo, or Microsoft Stream. All of the above options include settings for generating automatic captions for recordings, that can be edited to correct inaccuracies and add punctuation. You can then link or embed your video in Canvas or PolyLearn. Find options below.

ZOOM RECORDINGS

SCREENCAST-O-MATIC

CAMTASIA

OTTER AI

  • Otter.ai: As mentioned above, Otter.ai is a great tool for captioning videos. Otter.ai includes a Free plan and a Premium plan. The Otter Help Center includes a comparison of plans, with instructions for using Otter’s various features. The Free plan gives you 600 minutes of free transcription per month, allows transcription of videos up to 40 minutes in length, and up to 3 video/audio file uploads per month. By contrast, the Premium plan gives you 6,000 minutes of free transcription per month, allows transcription of videos up to 4 hours in length, and an unlimited number of video/audio file uploads per month.

CAPTIONING IN YOUTUBE

Please note that the YouTube interface is changing, so some of the tutorials below may not yet be up to date. This PDF tutorial, Video Captioning in YouTube [PDF], should be up-to-date. Additionally, YouTube limits uploads to recordings that are 15 minutes or less; if you have longer videos to upload, follow these steps: YouTube: Upload videos longer than 15 minutes

MICROSOFT STREAM

Cal Poly provides all faculty, staff and students with Microsoft Stream free streaming service, as part of the Office 365 Suite. You can access Microsoft Stream here: Microsoft Stream. You must be logged into your Cal Poly portal to access Microsoft Stream. The videos at the top of the homepage demonstrate how to upload and embed videos. Microsoft Stream provides auto-captions which you can easily edit. You control the privacy settings for your videos. Find more tutorials below:

Best Options for World Languages

OPTIONS FOR LANGUAGES OTHER THAN ENGLISH

You may be teaching in other languages, and looking for the best option for auto transcribing your speech. View the options below to see which options work best.

PRESENTATION TRANSLATOR

Presentation Translator for PowerPoint allows a speaker (e.g., instructor) to speak in any of the 10 supported speech languages – Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish – and subtitle into any one of the 60+ text translation languages. This is helpful for world language instructors who are teaching any one of the 10 supported dictation languages above.

OTTER

Otter.ai (more info in sections above) currently only supports English; however Otter recognizes a wide range of accents with English spoken as second language. They are leading in the industry with transcription with heavy accents, transcribing in noisy environments, and real-time transcription speed.

ZOOM

Change your Language on ZOOM: ZOOM supports Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Korean.

Captioning Videos Created by Others

CAL POLY CAPTIONING SERVICES

If someone else created a video you wish to use in class, such as a public video on YouTube, you cannot correct the captions or even turn on automatic captions if the video creator did not do so themselves, and did not provide you with editing access. If you don’t have access to a video to caption it (including non-YouTube videos), please visit Classroom Technologies Media Captioning page (Links to an external site.) and scroll down to Automatic Sync Technologies (AST). AST can caption online videos with the use of their "smart player,” a media player that synchronizes the URL of an online video with an AST caption file in order to present a captioned version of the online media, which you can place in Canvas or play in class. Lead time is 2 weeks, so make your requests well in advance of showing your video in class.

Additionally, if you want to pay AST for your own captioning services, you can still receive the CSU discount by completing this form: CaptionSync CSU System Account Sign Up. Once you complete the form, it is sent to Classroom Technologies admin for approval. Then you can submit your own videos, and they will be billed to you. You can ask what the lead time is for captioning; it is usually a few days.

REV.COM

Rev.com: This video captioning service provides caption files for videos that you have created, or public videos that allow you to create captions. Turn around time is 24 hours; cost is $1 per minute. You can then upload the captions to YouTube, or another hosting site such as Screencast.com, for quick captioning. Please note that many public YouTube videos do not allow others to provide captions, so check first before using Rev.com for videos created by others.

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