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Captions and Transcripts

Captions and Transcripts

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Providing captions for recorded content

This guidance has been produced to outline the importance of captions for recorded content, the University policy on the provision of captions and to support colleagues in including automated captions in recordings provided for educational purposes using University supported systems.  

For the purpose of this guidance the term ‘recorded content’ and ‘recordings’ are used to include all types of recordings that are provided to students for educational purposes - videos, screen capture with audio and audio only.

Why is it important to provide captions?

All learning resources should aim to be as accessible and inclusive as possible and the provision of captions for recordings is part of the University’s commitment to this. This commitment to accessibility and inclusion is underpinned by both the Equality Act and the more recent Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

University policy position

The Accessibility Regulations state that video recorded content provided online should be accessible to all viewers and as part of this requires that all recordings include captions. University Education Committee has approved the implementation of automatically-generated captions for all recordings produced for educational activities.

Recorded content made using University supported systems - the University aims to provide automatically-generated captions for pre-recorded content and recordings of live sessions that are stored for 14 days or more, made using University supported services. The captioning functionality varies between the services and the capabilities of each system are outlined in the Captioning capability in our systems section of this website.

Recordings provided by external sites - Ideally captions should be provided, but if it does not you should supplement the video with another resource that will enable the student to access the same learning, e.g. a transcript or another document which contains the same or similar information. It also does not have to be specifically created for this purpose – it could be an existing resource. Sites which caption all videos include YouTube, LinkedIn Learning and Box of Broadcasts (Learning on Screen).

Creating captions and their accuracy

Video creation systems use technology called ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) to create captions. The University recognises that the accuracy of these machine generated captions varies depending on the audio quality, topic and speaker, and will not be 100% correct. 

The University recognises that colleagues may have concerns regarding the publication of captions that are not 100% accurate. However, it does not think correcting automatically-generated captions is an effective or proportionate activity and does not expect or require colleagues to edit or correct automatically-generated captions.

Students should be advised that they should not rely solely on the captions when viewing video content and should use them alongside other learning resources such as accompanying PowerPoint slides and wider readings to ensure they understand the topic and terminology used.

Support is available via the Student Health and Wellbeing Team for those students who require accurate captions as part of a reasonable adjustment. Contact details are included in the University Captions Disclaimer.

The University’s policy position is stated in its Captions Disclaimer and communicated to students via induction materials, the Student Health and Wellbeing website, the Academic Skills Kit, the accessibility section of the Canvas Orientation course and within the accessibility statements for the digital education systems.

Captioning capability in our systems

The following table outlines the current position for our institutionally supported digital education systems. This information will be updated as, and when, the functionality changes. In addition, the University will continue to monitor the automatic speech recognition market and investigate solutions that may support higher levels of accuracy in automatic captioning services.

SystemCaption functionality status in September 2021Notes
Panopto (ReCap) 
  • From the 24 September 2021 all new ReCap (Panopto) recordings, copies and uploads will automatically include automatically-generated captions.
  • From the 24 September 2021 captions are automatically added to recordings however for recordings created before this date the automatically-generated captions file will need to be added to the recording.
  • Viewers must click the closed captions (CC) icon when watching the recording to see the captions.
  • The captions can be added (if required, edited and deleted by any colleague with creator access to the recording. However, colleagues are not required to edit automatically-generate captions.
  • For guidance on how to add, edit and delete captions, please see this Guide to ReCap automatic captioning (.docx).
  • Recordings created before 24 September 2021 will not have the captions automatically added but the captions file will exist and can be added in the editor.
  • The captions are automatically generated and therefore are not 100% correct.
  • The captions can be edited but colleagues are not required to edit.
  • Support is available via the Student Health and Wellbeing Team for those students who require accurate captions as part of a reasonable adjustment. Contact details are included in the University Captions Disclaimer.
  • Captions created using an external third-party tool or service can be imported into ReCap using SRT, ASHX, and DXFP captioning formats.
Canvas
  • No automated captioning functionality available within the system.
  • It is possible to add existing caption files to Canvas when uploading new video content. Canvas supports SRT and WebVTT formats. For guidance in doing this see the Canvas Instructor Guide.
  • To obtain automated captions for videos you wish to upload it is recommended that you upload the recording to ReCap or Stream and then add to Canvas. 
  • Support is available via the Student Health and Wellbeing Team for those students who require accurate captions as part of a reasonable adjustment. Contact details are included in the University Captions Disclaimer.

Microsoft Teams meetings

  • The captions are automatically generated and therefore are not 100% correct.
  • The captions created for recordings can be edited but colleagues are not required to edit.
  • Support is available via the Student Health and Wellbeing Team for those students who require accurate captions as part of a reasonable adjustment. Contact details are included in the University Captions Disclaimer.
Microsoft Stream
  • The captions are automatically generated and therefore are not 100% correct.
  • The captions can be edited but colleagues are not required to edit.
  • Support is available via the Student Health and Wellbeing Team for those students who require accurate captions as part of a reasonable adjustment. Contact details are included in the University Captions Disclaimer.
  • It is possible to upload externally generated captions file in .vtt format (for example, if generated using a third-party tool or service). 
Zoom
  • Live meetings - automatic live closed captioning is available during meetings but this must be enabled by the host for it to be available to attendees.
  • When meetings are recorded to the cloud, a transcription (.VTT) file can be downloaded in addition to the m4a file. This file can be added to the recording to create a captioned video. Please note that .VTT files are not created when recording locally.
  • For guidance on captioning in Zoom see the University guide Automated closed caption in Zoom.
  • The captions are automatically generated and therefore are not 100% correct.
  • The captions created for recordings can be edited but colleagues are not required to edit.
  • Support is available via the Student Health and Wellbeing Team for those students who require accurate captions as part of a reasonable adjustment. Contact details are included in the University Captions Disclaimer.
Vimeo
  • Vimeo allows the creation of captions by uploading a .VTT file.
  • This file must be formatted precisely to Vimeo’s guidelines, otherwise it will not work.
  • Guidance on this can be found on the Vimeo website.
  • These type of captions take a bit of time to create but can be produced using a text editor such as Notepad and saving with a .vtt file extension. 

Frequently asked questions