eLearning Courses & the Coronavirus: How Educators Can Improve Accessibility in the Virtual Classroom
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, universities nationwide hurriedly shift to online classes in an attempt to curtail the spread.
Institutions are actively working to ensure students and faculty are equipped with the support they need to navigate the crisis. But a monumental change like this in higher education is unprecedented.
It’s led to an onslaught of questions from educators—specifically around web-based accessibility and knowing what steps to take to achieve compliance with both state and federal laws.
Navigating the laws and migrating online can be a tough switch to flip, so we’ve put together a list of captions, subtitles, transcriptions, and web accessibility resources to facilitate a smooth transition.
Why is eLearning accessibility critical during the coronavirus pandemic?
In the best circumstances, deaf and hard-of-hearing students’ access needs are all too often unmet. Under the extenuating circumstances of COVID-19, they are at risk of being neglected altogether.
Creating inclusive content is a crucial matter of equity and access for over 200,000 deaf students enrolled in U.S. colleges, as well as for 37,000 late-deafened military veterans in college and hundreds of thousands of deaf high school students.
Inaccessible eLearning also present challenges to hard of hearing students, many of whom are forced to set up shop in jam-packed houses with quarantined family members.
Virtual classroom accessibility means that anyone can get the same message from a lecture, no matter their disability or circumstance due to a pandemic.
How can closed captions help my students?
The positive benefits of closed captions in virtual classrooms are plentiful. They not only help the deaf and hard-of-hearing students, but also those with cognitive and behavioral disorders, non-native English speakers, and have even been found to improve literacy rates.
How do I order closed captions for my recorded video lectures?
Time is a precious commodity for educators right now. You likely have little-to-no spare time to dedicate to manually captioning every one of your lectures. Finding a workflow that’s swift and a captioning solution that can deliver quickly and accurately is paramount. We recommend using the following steps for educational video conferencing to make the process as seamless as possible:
1. Prepare your audio or video file:
The first step is to have an audio or video file ready. You can record a video lecture on a web conferencing platform like Zoom.
2. Upload your file
Upload your file to a captioning & subtitling service provider like Rev.
3. Wait for your captioned files
Depending on service ordered, you should receive captions and subtitles for your videos within 24 hours.
4. Send to your eLearning platform
You can now upload your SRT generated files from Rev to your eLearning platform.
How do I add SRT files to videos in online courses & online learning platforms?
Once your educational videos include captions and subtitles, you’ll want to upload the SRT files to your eLearning platform. While each learning management system (LMS) is different, there are some general step-by-step guidelines to follow.
- In your LMS, locate your video file library
- Navigate to the closed caption option and hit Upload
- Choose the language for the subtitles
- Select Save
You’ll repeat this process for each SRT file you add. If you’re hosting your eLearning videos on YouTube, adding caption files with Rev is just as simple. Check out the following educational resources for specific guidelines for your preferred LMS.
How can lecture transcription help students?
With many students forced to study in environments where distractions provide additional challenges, providing a lecture transcription is an effective way to allow students to read-along with your streaming media.
Learning styles also vary considerably; while some students prefer visual (video) or auditory (audio), others prefer reading a transcript of your lectures. Meet your students where they’re at by equipping them with transcripts and an alternative way to study.
How can I order transcripts of lectures?
Similar to creating closed captions, partnering with a professional service such as Rev is a time-saving best practice. Use the following steps to get started:
Step 1: Upload your English audio or video file from either your computer or a URL.
Step 2: The 50,000+ vetted English-speaking (human) experts work to transcribe your file, usually in under 24 and with guaranteed 99% accuracy.
Step 3: You’ll receive your audio transcription in a document that you can easily edit using Rev’s online tools. Once you’re satisfied, you can share it through your class portal, blog, or directly on the video webpage so students can easily follow along while watching or listening.
If getting funding for closed captions and transcriptions is a challenge, we put together tips on getting financial buy-in from your board.
Coronavirus has changed education for the foreseeable future
Coronavirus has created an opportunity for eLearning platforms to serve the masses — and we’re hopeful that the circumstances will lead to greater access for all students moving forward.
At Rev, we want to be a helpful resource in these challenging times. Our caption and transcription services are flexible enough to accommodate your changing needs in the context of the pandemic.