Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Free and/or Easy Captioning for Online Videos

As web technologies continue to create new, exciting opportunities for engaging our students, educators need to make efforts to ensure multimedia materials are accessible to all students. YouTube is a gold mine for locating relevant videos for our classes but none of these videos are captioned. What is an educator to do? Well, some of you may be fortunate enough to have an accessibility specialist to call for help with captioning multimedia. But, my guess would be that most community college faculty are expected to take this on themselves. My concern at this point in time is that faculty are shying away from using existing video content in their course material because of the lack of resources provided for captioning. I stress that this is a concern because if this occurs, higher education will fall further behind the web 2.0 curve and resist the exciting, innovative (and often free!) resources that are at our fingertips today.

A colleague of mine recently shared a website with me called dotSUB.com. If you can identify with the need to caption films, check this out! No, I can't provide a resource to do it for you but this site will demystify the captioning process. This is a beta site that provides users with an online interface for adding captions to a movie. The demo that I have linked here for you will show the magic!

And, if you're a PowerPoint user, check out a product called LecShare. Many online instructors have adapted to integrating audio into their PowerPoints. LecShare gives you the ability to also add captioning to the presentations so students can read and listen at the same time, creating a ADA compliant file. This product isn't free but is reasonably priced. Another nice feature of LecShare is the option to export to a web friendly formats like mp4 (for podcast episodes!!), Quicktime and html.

I'd love to hear from others who have identified free or inexpensive tools that would help facilitate the need for captioning of videos in education.
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