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Increasing Accessibility to Educational Videos: A Joint Project between AV Services and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

September 19, 2019

laptop with closed captioned symbol on screen

Background

In March, 2019, AV Services and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services received a $25,000 grant from The Winnipeg Foundation to support a project that will increase accessibility to instructional video at Red River College. Through the joint effort of these two departments, in partnership with the Manitoba Association of Visual Language Interpreters (M.A.V.L.I.), this project aims to provide closed captioning to 20,000 minutes of video from Red River College Library’s streaming collection.

Why Closed Captions are Essential

As many know, video resources are a staple component in most course curriculum at the College. The use of captioned streaming video as an instructional tool supports universal course design and provides educational equity for people who have a hearing disability. For this reason, providing captions to streaming video has been targeted as an essential step in satisfying the Information and Communications Accessibility Standard as laid out in the Accessibility for Manitobans Act and the College’s Accessibility Plan.

Added Benefits for All

While the project’s primary aim is to make educational video accessible to the Deaf or Hard of Hearing, as well as those with disabilities, there are added benefits for those without a disability. Some of the secondary benefits of this project include:

  • CPC CaptionMaker software package, if purchased, would enable quick one-off captioning of videos and would allow the Library and other Departments to add closed captions to videos as well (pending vendor/author approval).
  • Computerized note takers, who provide a valuable service to the College through the school year, would receive compensation for their skills during summer months when they normally face a reduction in hours.
  • Videos that are captioned would maximize learning for all by enhancing different learning styles, allowing videos to be watched in noisy or quiet environments, and aiding comprehension for ESL learners.
  • Closed captions make some videos searchable, meaning that the viewer can search for and locate a word or phrase within the video efficiently.

Support Required to Keep it Going

While the grant money has been well-utilized and the project has been a success, it is only a start. As new students arrive, courses evolve, and the Library’s collection expands, the demand to produce captioned videos will not go away. Financial support to cover the staffing, software, and miscellaneous fees will be required, and the results produced by our departments are an encouraging step toward justifying that support.

Note of Appreciation to Supporters and Staff

The Winnipeg Foundation logoWe would like to thank The Winnipeg Foundation and M.A.V.L.I. for their support in getting this project off the ground. We also extend our appreciation to the staff in Library Services and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services who led the project as well as those behind the scenes who dedicated their time and energy to produce the final product.

Suggest a Video for Captioning

For more information on this project, or to suggest a video for captioning, please contact:

  • Charlene Tweed, Supervisor, Library Resource Management
    ctweed@rrc.ca | 204-632-2389
  • Jill Patterson, Manager, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
    jpatterson@rrc.ca | 204-632-3092