Disability Resources for Students

Accessible Video and Audio Accommodations

Accessible Video and Audio is an accommodation to ensure lecture and course content is accessible to students. Most accessible videos include captions, audio description, and are navigable by keyboard. Accessible videos may look slightly different, depending upon the end users’ needs. Commonly used terms include:

  • Captions – are text synchronized with the media.
  • Open captions – cannot be turned on and off. May also be called burned-in captions.
  • Closed captions – can be turned on and off. In addition to the spoken words, closed captions convey sound effects, speaker identification, and other non-speech elements. Most web video players use closed captions that can be turned on or off with a CC button
  • Subtitles – can be turned on and off. They are intended for viewers who can hear the audio, but may not understand the language. Subtitles communicate the spoken content but not the sound effects. Subtitles are often associated with translation.
  • Transcript – a text document with all the spoken content. May or may not contain time information.
  • Audio Description – descriptive narration of key visual elements in a video or multimedia product. May also be referred to as video description, descriptive video, descriptive video service, or simply DVS. Source: UW DO-IT: What is Audio Description

All requests will be processed in the order received. Submitting a late request will take longer to fulfill, and requests may take longer than the time-frame outlined in the Services Timeline Request. This accommodation is centrally managed and operationalized by the DRS Seattle office for all DRS units across campuses.

Changes to accommodation requests should be made by the student in myDRS as soon as possible. While DRS does their own outreach, sometimes students can connect more quickly and effectively by reaching out personally to their adviser, program coordinator, or department chair to check on the status of assigned instructors.

Timeliness of delivery depends upon a number of factors, such as:

  • The original source (YouTube, Panopto, DVD)
  • How soon the video will be shown in class (first day versus Week 10)
  • The duration of the video (5 mins versus 1 hour)
  • If an accessible version already exits (i.e., a DVD with captions)
  • What accessible element is needed (captions, audio description, navigable by keyboard, etc.)

Student Responsibilities

  • Activate accommodation by checking the appropriate box in student myDRS profile per the services timeline OR as soon as possible once approved by the DRS Coordinator.
  • The student should plan for most videos and audio files to take at least 10 business days to be made accessible.
  • Requests need to be submitted as soon as possible, but must be at least 5 business days before the show date in order for DRS to give the student access in a reasonable timeframe.
  • Discuss any concerns regarding this accommodation with assigned DRS Coordinator.
  • DRS Responsibilities

    • Work closely with the student and appropriate units to provide materials, per services timeline or as soon as possible throughout the term depending upon submission of request.
    • Convert inaccessible videos into a format usable either through in-house process or with captioning vendors and distribute to the student and faculty. Depending on the situation, links to an interactive video or media shared via OneDrive are emailed. Or the captioned video is available through lecture capture (Panopto, Mediasite).
    • Ensure that appropriate accommodations are provided per stated timelines based on submission dates of requests.

    Faculty Responsibilities

    • Use available accessible videos or attempt to find accessible versions of videos. If accessible videos are not available, DRS supports instructors by taking a lead in processing videos.
    • When needed, assist DRS in acquiring source videos for conversion.
    • Implement activated accommodations in a timely manner, consult with DRS as needed.

    (Updated 1/2020)