Module 5: Video and multimedia content multimedia icon

If your course contains content that includes video, or any type of media that incorporates sound and images together, captions are necessary to enable students with specific disabilities to access the material.

What are captions?

Captions are text versions of the spoken word and relevant sounds presented within multimedia. Captions allow the content of audio and video to be accessible to those who do not have access to audio. Though captioning is primarily intended for those who cannot hear the audio, it has also been found to help students with learning disabilities, students who may not be fluent in the language in which the audio is presented, students for whom the language spoken is not their primary language, etc.

Captions should be:

  • Synchronized - The text content should appear at approximately the same time that audio would be available.
  • Equivalent - Content provided in captions should be equivalent to that of the spoken word and relevant sounds.
  • Accessible - Captioned content should be readily accessible and available to those who need it.

Why should we use captions?

Think about your reasons for including the video content in your course or other work. Chances are, you feel the video adds an important element to your instruction and enhances the learning experience. Keeping this in mind, it is only fair that a student with a disability should have equal access to those same elements and enhancements.


Please note some video may contain sounds which are not necessarily spoken word, but which are integral to the meaning (i.e. a door slamming off camera, screeching tires off camera, etc.). In these cases, captions should include a
                brief description of the sound.

How do I find captioned videos?



Don't be fooled by YouTube's machine captions! YouTube uses voice recognition software to automatically create a video transcript and captions for almost every video uploaded to YouTube. Therefore, all YouTube videos have a CC (Closed Caption) button, but the
                machine transcribed captions are far less accurate than those transcribed by humans.

To be sure you find human-captioned videos on YouTube, follow this easy search technique:

  1. Enter your search term (for this example, let's say I'm searching for videos on volcanoes) in the YouTube search field.
  2. Add a ", CC" (that's a comma CC)
  3. Press "Enter" or click the magnifying glass icon.
    Searching for captioned videos on YouTube


You can search Google's vast video repository and filter for only those videos that are close-captioned:

  1. Enter your search term (again, we will use volcanoes) in the Google search field.
    Google search field

  2. Click "Videos" in the menu below the search field.
    video button in google menu

  3. Click "Tools" to the right of the menu. A sub-menu will appear below.
    tools button in google video search

  4. In the sub-menu, click "All videos", and then click "Close captioned". Your search results will now only show close captioned videos.
    Google close captioned button

How can I caption a video myself?

If you are the author of your video, you can add captions easily through YouTube. If you are not the author, then you must first request permission from the author to caption their content. Disability Support Services (DSS), can assist with this process (see heading "How can I have someone caption videos for me?" further down this page).

Tutorial on how to caption your own YouTube material.


How can I have someone caption videos for me?

Disability Support Services (DSS) can handle the process of captioning your videos or other multimedia content. Please contact DSS with your request. We will take it from there!

call call extension 2182 or 925-969-2182

email  email David Hagerty, DSS Manager, at

door  visit the DSS office in the Student Services Center, room 248


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