Accessible Multimedia at UAA

The University of Alaska Anchorage recognizes the wide range of multimedia used in education and strives to enhance the use of best practices. There are training resources related to:

  • Review of Best Practices
  • Universal Subtitles - web based captioning for UAA site
  • Subtitle Workshop and Jubler - free applications
  • Camtasia - licensed application 
  • Captivate - licensed application
  • Producing transcripts for audio or video with "revoicing" techniques

Best Practices

When thinking about audio and video it is good to recognize established standards:

Audio recordings - If an individual with a documented need requests a transcript, then one must be provided in a timely manner.  The UAA CMS pages include an embed MP3 element that provides a mechanism for transcripts to be loaded. Providing transcripts from the outset is ideal when possible because it provides for seamless access and can improve search results as well.

Video encompasses both the traditional type that is shot with a camera but also the type of that can be produced through screen capture or other related methods. Since video contains both audio and visual elements it is important to not only have a transcript, but also to have timing codes that ensure the text being read can be easily matched with the scenes being displayed. For video to be accessible to those with different learning styles it may also be necessary to provide audio descriptions of the visual elements. 

For video that is shared on public webspace it can be a good idea to upload to YouTube first, add subtitles there, then embed within the CMS page. This will maximize the likelihood of being found and will make it easy for users to display captions/subtitles on demand and event to request automatic translation to other languages. Note that UAA is using Universal Subtitles which makes it easy to caption any videos used on university webpages.

Using the Content of Others is common. There are all kinds of videos out there on YouTube, and often, they are a great match for the courses, programs, and other offerings we offer.  One best practice is to search for existing material using advanced searches and filters. For example, in a YouTube search you can simply enter the keyword then a comma and the letters cc to search for only captioned videos on a given topic. Like this:




Universal Subtitles

Higher Ed Blog Universal SubtitlesUAA has added the Universal Subtitles code to our Content Management System. This means that all of the videos we embed, whether from YouTube, Vimeo, etc will show a Universal Subtitles button underneath the video.

If there are already subtitles that exist for the video, they will be available from a drop down list. Anyone can add a subtitle track, or improve the quality of an existing subtitle file or translation.

The process of creating subtitles is easy, free, and web based. There are good video tutorials as well as handouts with printed instructions.

Free Tools

Subtitle workshop and Jubler are free programs that can be used to create subtitle files for youtube. This helps to ensure that people watching our videos anywhere around the world can easily view the english language subtitle files in a manner similiar to how closed captions work, or, with the translate subtitle option, the text can be displayed in other languages as needed.

Subtitle Workshop  and Jubler are free downloads


Captioning with Camtasia

Camtasia is a program that can be used to capture whatever is being displayed on screen. It is useful for creating tutorials that allow users to watch mouse movements and other steps in computer related processes. There are also a variety of interactive features that can be included within tutorials and other media such as video, audio, and images can be brought in. The captivate program provides an easy to use tool for captioning files and lets authors pick from open or closed caption display.

Tutorials from the Camtasia website

The Faculty Technology Center has a page on Camtasia


Captioning with Captivate

Captivate has some really impressive features that allow users to take an existing PowerPoint presentation with speaker notes. Bring it into Captivate, then turn the speaker notes into both audio and captions. The program uses text to speech and lets authors select from male or female voices when generating the synthetic speech.

The Faculty Technology Center has tutorials on Captivate.


Generating Transcripts

If a transcript is not available and has to be produced there are some different options to consider. One possible workflow that works well is:

  1. Use audacity or express scribe (free programs) to control playback of audio
  2. Use Voice Recognition software (through operating system or as standalone tool) to dictate. 

Another option which is often used for transcribing full length videos is TypeWell. Transcribers use sophisticated abbreviation software to type what is being said with far fewer keystrokes. UAA Disability Support Services can provide references.