Educational Technology,  Inclusivity,  Instructional / Course Design,  Uncategorized

Making it Accessible: Turn on live captions in Zoom

When you have certain learning disabilities or you are studying in a language you aren’t fully fluent in, it is easy to miss important details of what your professor says.  As an instructor, you can make what you say accessible for all your learners by turning on captions before your Zoom meetings.  The button to turn it on is right beside the button for breakout rooms at the bottom of your computer screen in Zoom.

Turn on zoom captions before a meeting
Click on the close captioning and select enable -auto transcripts

Unfortunately, there are currently only English transcripts and you need to deliberately turn them on for each meeting. However, Audio Transcript is added to Zoom recordings using our default settings so no action is required if you are recording your class using Zoom.

Why shouldn’t I just wait to see if someone requests transcription?

  1. Accessibility isn’t about helping someone when they ask, it is about ensuring everyone can independently navigate your course.  There are a set of international standards for accessibility that describe what you need for transcription in virtual courses, if you’d like to see the evidence-based guidelines.  This is the same reason we proactively add ramps in new buildings rather than putting temporary ones into some classrooms when student or faculty who have mobility issues ask us to.
  2. Access to captions, even captions that are only 80% accurate, helps everyone in the course.

Can I just have a someone type?

You can assign typing to any participant, like student notetaker or a TA . You can also type yourself.

What if someone requests access when I haven’t granted it?

When a participant clicks the CC Live Transcripts button at the bottom of the screen, they can send you an anonymous or general request to enable transcription:

Then you’ll get a pop prompting you to enable Live Transcript:

You can choose to decline and not allow people to access, but it is not a recommended educational practice. If a student asks for captioning as an accommodation and you have questions, please contact Access and Equity Services at for guidance.

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