Livecaption your Zoom classes for accessibility and greater learning

27

SEPTEMBER, 2021

Good practice
Teaching & learning online
Accessibility

You might think of captions as necessary for students with a hearing impairment to participate in your online class or seminar. And while that is true, captions serve other purposes too. They make it easier for students to take part in class when there’s background noise (hi housemates, siblings, kids, and pets!), when English is not their first language or when first encountering discipline-specific terms.

Some students, like Deakin Bachelor of Occupational Therapy student, Daniela Skocic find it easier to process and remember information when they hear it and can read it simultaneously. ‘Processing what has been said, while reading it, helps me remember better and make better sense of the information,’ says Dani. Without live-captions, Dani needs to decide whether to attend the class live and benefit from interaction with her classmates, or to watch the recording later when the transcript is available.

A study conducted by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education found that ‘in addition to the expected benefits to disabled and NESB students… lecture captions are also beneficial to students without disabilities, assisting them to absorb and review educational materials.’ Students have also reported that captions make it easier  to access their learning on the go (Tisdell and Loch, 2016).

How to turn on live-captions

To turn on live-captioning in Zoom, use the ‘Live Transcript’ button in the control bar at the bottom of your Zoom window. Then click on the ‘Enable Auto-transcription’ button.

Zoom menu bar

If you’re sharing your screen, you’ll need to click on ‘More’ in the Zoom controls and select ‘Live Transcript’ from the pop-up options.

Zoom dropdown menu to select live caption

In an MS Teams meeting, click on the ‘More options’ icon (three dots) and select ‘Live captioning’. Find out more on the Microsoft Support site.

Note that auto-transcription isn’t always perfect

Auto-transcription uses machine-generated captions, so the captioning is unlikely to be perfect. If you know that one or more of your students will rely solely on the transcripts (e.g. they may have an access plan requiring transcripts), we recommend you contact the Deakin Disability Resource Centre. You can discuss with them alternative highly accurate captioning options. However, if this is not the case, the odd transcription error won’t matter too much most of the time. As long as the message is clear to students.

You can easily make quick corrections to the captions/transcript later. Take a look at Zoom’s simple instructions on editing transcripts.

Learn more about students’ experiences of accessing learning materials

Check out Deakin science student Judzea Gatt’s recent Deakin Life blog post about her accessibility experiences – good and bad – and how she approaches her studies.

Want new articles before they get published? Subscribe to our DTeach Newsletter.