New research from Oregon State University highlights the importance of providing captions to videos for the benefit of all users. As described in the article Closed captions, transcripts aid learning for almost all students, the researchers found that “98.6 percent of students say captions are helpful, with 75 percent of them noting that they use captions as a learning aid in face-to-face and online classrooms.”
So while we now that we must provide captions for students with documented disabilities, the reality is that almost 99% of all students can benefit from them. By including captioning in the planning of any video component in your course you can be confident that you are creating content that will impactful for the vast majority of all students who view it.
As we continue to work to find an affordable way to provide captioning services on campus beyond those captions required by law, which are coordinated by the UMD Disability Support Services, there are free options for creating captions using Camtasia, YouTube, or Vimeo. It’s important to remember that many qualified students at the higher education level choose not to identify as someone with a disability, or do not have the documentation necessary to receive accommodations for their disability. Add to this the number of students who are not native English speakers, and you have a roster full of students who would utilize captions to further their learning — if captions were available:
For video transcripts, students referenced the tool as a learning aid 85 percent of the time …. More than half of students surveyed said captions help by improving comprehension. The most common reasons students use captions are to help them focus, retain information and overcome poor audio quality of the videos, while transcripts are often used as study guides and to find and retain information.
I encourage you to read the full Study from Oregon State and 3Play Media, and then begin thinking about how we can increase the use of captions to help our students have a more meaningful learning experience in our online spaces. What do you think?