MyMedia, Boston University’s supported video management software, offers a little-known but powerful tool for creating captions for your videos. Not only will it create the captions, but it will automatically put them into the video for you! This can be a great tool for everybody:
You can use the transcripts to see where you could improve your teaching, while providing students with resources for success.
When you upload a video to MyMedia, you can order computer-generated (“mechanical”) captions or human-generated (“professional”) captions can be ordered with a simple click, at no charge, and often are posted in the transcription area within the hour (or up to 24 hours).
These captions are generally 60 to 70% accurate, depending on how well the microphone was able to capture audio and whether the speaker spoke clearly on the video and without a heavy accent. You can quickly correct them right in the transcript, which displays next to the video and shows the captions on the video. With the click of a mouse, you can play the portion of the video you want to identify what was said and easily edit the transcript. When done, you can publish the video and it will automatically display the transcription as captions. You can also downloaded the transcript to your desktop.
Captions are a necessary accommodation for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. But faculty may not realize there are direct benefits to them as well:
Supporting all students who have an undiagnosed hearing impairment. Some students who have hearing impairments do not know that they have them, and even those who do sometimes do not reach out to their instructors about it.
Using captions to improve instruction. Transcripts are a highly effective tool for reviewing lectures and identifying wordiness or instructional structures that could be shortened or reorganized for better assimilation. Some instructors actually script their lectures in advance, both to ensure a well-organized, quality video. They have found that creating the scripts improves their teaching. If you haven’t done this you may find significant value in reviewing the transcripts of lecture capture videos to see where you could make improvements.
Helping international students. Captioning is not only useful to students who are deaf or hard of hearing. It is also a major advantage for students for whom English is a second language. Being able to hear and read a lecture (during or after) can increase the amount of content that ESL students will absorb.
Increasing all student engagement. Studies have demonstrated that reading captions while watching a video actually improves the students’ engagement with the video. Also, during the classroom lecture, if students know that there will be a lecture transcript available online after the class, they can refrain from the sometimes distracting and stressful act of furiously scribbling lecture notes, attempting to capture every ounce of content. They can use the transcripts to review class material they missed or didn’t understand, to review course materials for assessments, or to reflect upon the class session. Some students have difficulty taking in purely auditory content, and find visual accompaniment extremely helpful to their absorption of the material.
A common reservation faculty hold regarding the use of computer-generated transcription is the time that it might require of them. Fortunately, MyMedia’s captioning utility is easy to use and minimizes the time spent correcting captions. After your transcript appears in your account, you can make edits quickly and easily in the transcription window, correcting for common problems, such as acronyms, place names, and jargon that the AI software might not recognize.
MyMedia’s captioning and transcription service is straightforward, fully integrated with the video content, and requires minimal effort for creating accessible content. The benefits of transcriptions and captions are far-reaching for faculty and students alike.