I am a casual academic currently coordinating 54040 The Ecology of Public Communication in the School of Communication in FASS. This session there are approximately 330 students, with a mix of online and on campus tutorials. All the lectures (except for Week 1 which was live) have been ‘segmented’ into shorter sections and pre-recorded in Kaltura.

The shift to recorded lectures means captioning online content has become even more important. I record on Thursday, wait for live captioning to do its thing, correct any inaccuracies and upload to Canvas by Friday morning (the week before class). 

How captions benefit students

At first I was more conscious of ensuring the captions were accurate because I met with a student who has a hearing impairment at the start of the session, to talk about what we could do to make sure they had access to what they needed; I wanted to make sure the captions were accurate so this student had a positive experience.

However, since talking to other students I’ve learned that many benefit from the captions, and so taking the time to ensure their accuracy was even more important to me. 

Feedback from students

Students have told me that they like the fact there are captions as it makes the lectures easier to follow; students whose second (or third) language is English find it helps them to understand the concepts, and by listening to the lecture as well as watching the captions they can understand better. If we are moving to recording the lectures rather than live, in-person lectures then the students can benefit from catching all (or most) of what we say. 

The option with Kaltura to either slow down or speed up replaying of lectures has also been received positively; some students have told me they speed it up (so the captions can help with comprehension when it’s faster) and students who need to, slow it down slightly. I am not too keen to hear my voice when you speed it up but if the students don’t mind I’m fine with it!

Ensuring accuracy in your captioning

It can take quite a while to correct the captions but in the end I think it’s worth it, especially if I decide to re-use the lecture recordings. I’ll only have to do it once, hopefully. 

In addition, seeing the kinds of inaccuracies the automated captioning picks up after a few recordings has made me more conscious to enunciate and speak clearly. 

After a while you get to learn what the automated caption doesn’t get right when it captions your speech, and for me, I think it’s probably the way I pronounce certain words. For example, every time I say ‘idea’, it captions this as ‘ID’, or ‘so’ as ‘say’. It also spells ‘connection’ and ‘story’ incorrectly. I recently found the ‘find and replace’ function at the top of the caption editor page in Kaltura – so now when I’m captioning, I go straight in and find and replace the common errors, saving me a bit of time.

Learn more

Take a look at the Captions and transcripts resource on LX Resources to find out more about how you can incorporate captions into your digital content.

Feature image by pch.vector

  • Great tips, Michaela. Thank you for sharing your experience. I wonder how captioning would also help all students (e.g. improve vocal clarity, make their work reusable) if they start to use this feature with creating their own video assessment tasks.

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