Study Lauds Utility of Closed Captions and Transcripts in Higher Education

by | Published on Nov 29, 2016 | Educational Transcription

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Utility of Closed CaptionsClosed captioning is among the many services that general transcription companies provide. This option is a great advantage for those with hearing impairments as it allows them to read the text of the words spoken in videos. EurekAlert recently reported on new research from Oregon State University (OSU) which highlights the utility of closed captioning and transcripts on video and multimedia as a learning tool in college and university classrooms.

One of the first of its kind, the study involved a survey of 2,124 students over the age of 18, across 15 public and private universities nationwide. Nineteen percent of the respondents had difficulty with hearing and 37 percent had difficulty with vision. The study found that captions helped the students improve focus and overcome the problems posed by videos with poor sound quality. Transcripts are used as study guides and to find and retain information.

The researchers reported that:

  • Almost 100 percent of the respondents had at least one course – face-to-face or online – that included some video content
  • 98.6 percent of students found captions helpful
  • 75 percent reported using captions as a learning aid in face-to-face and online classrooms
  • Video transcripts are used by the students as a learning aid 85 percent of the time
  • More than 50 percent of the students said that captions improved comprehension
  • More than one quarter of respondents were unsure about the availability of closed captions
  • Almost one in five were not sure about the availability of transcripts for the videos in their courses

Despite the usefulness of closed captioning and transcripts, the OSU study reports that they are not regularly being made available. The aim of the research, according to author of the study, who is also the director of the Oregon State University Ecampus Research Unit, was to inform university administrators that a range of students are using these tools, and that more learners could be helped by making them more available. The author also points out that closed captions and transcripts are now a legal obligation for universities that receive federal funding when videos are created for courses and for institutional purposes, in order to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access.

Besides the academic community, audio transcription service companies also cater to the closed captioning requirements of production companies, financial institutions, and multinational corporations. Closed captioning can improve indexing and text-search, and enhance the online visibility of videos. It allows people to view content easily on mobile devices in noisy environments or when they are in a library or conference. Closed captioning widens your audience and extends the reach of your content.

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