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Designing Courses for Accessibility: Hearing

The Spectrum of Hearing Impairment

As with vision, students who have hearing loss may range from partial loss to full deafness.  Additionally, some individuals may have hearing loss in just one ear.

When you are creating materials for your course, there are two types of content that typically require consideration for hearing loss and those are audio-only content (such as podcasts or recorded audio comments) and video content.

 

Creating Transcriptions as Part of Your Design Process

Creating a script for audio and video content is strongly recommended because it organizes your audio/video presentation, and then it can easily be turned into a transcript or captions.

If you have already created your multimedia, some programs can help you create a transcript after you record.  For example, YouTube has an “automatic caption” feature tool that allows you to auto-generate closed captions and timecodes. From there, as long as the media exists in your own YouTube account, you can then use YouTube’s captioning tools to edit those captions for accuracy.  To learn more about using YouTube and captions see our guide.

Some schools also offer transcription services to support faculty with this effort. There are also services on the web where you can submit your files and have them transcribed for a fee. The pricing will vary based on the length of the media and the quality of the original audio. 

 

Checking Volume Levels

Before recording, it is important to check that the volume recording level is not set too high or low and to be mindful of background noises that may distract your listener. For example, if an ambulance siren goes past or a helicopter flies overhead, it may be best to do an additional take of that recording so that no part of the message is missed.

 

Integrating Open Education Resources

You may find it easier, and sometimes, more thorough to include video or audio that you did not create, such as YouTube videos or a recorded expert interview. Whenever possible, try to find resources that include transcriptions and/or captions. If they do not, then you will need to have a transcription created in order for the item to be considered accessible.

Please contact your school's disability support office for more information about transcription services available.

 

Captions in YouTube

YouTube provides the option to use Google’s speech recognition technology to automatically generate captions, but the accuracy of these automatically generated captions varies. If you are using a YouTube video in your class, be sure to check the quality of the captions to make sure the text matches the audible content.

If the videos exist in YouTube account you have access to, you have the option to edit the automated captions or sync a script to the video’s timecode using YouTube’s captioning tool.

Also check out the TLC team's webinar about captioning videos using YouTube's captioning tool.

 

Strategies for Course Design

You can learn more about creating accessible documents and presentations by visiting the following pages in the knowledge base:

 

Support for Students and Instructors

If you are unsure of how to handle making parts of your course accessible please contact the office that supports students with disabilities at your local college and they can help you identify the available resources and recommended approaches. Additional services for students may include sign-language interpreters. If you are making course videos that might be useful for multiple courses, consider connecting with this office to determine if they can offer resources (such as providing an interpreter in the video or transcription services).

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