How to Make Educational Videos Searchable and Accessible
Educational videos play a vital role in personal and professional development. From a video lecture series for a summer college course to OSHA safety courses, clear communication matters. One way to ensure learners can search for and understand content is through textual cues. Learn how to make your content more accessible in minutes.
Why create accessible content
Studies show that adding more opportunities to learn (visual and audio) can improve outcomes for students. If this isn’t enough of a reason, however, there’s the law to consider. The U.S. Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) requires higher ed teachers to practice “reasonable accommodation.” While vague, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) add more clarity. They ask that “All non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose.” There are exceptions, but most video lessons would do best to comply.
WebAim.org states that in order for multi-media content with speech to be accessible, captions must:
- Be synchronized with the audio
- Be equivalent to the spoken words
- Be accessible and available to those who need it
Following these guidelines not only keeps you from running afoul of continually changing laws, but it also makes sense. Adding text, such as closed captions, to your pre-recorded audio helps students learn. It also makes it searchable. Using text keywords in your content helps people find your work. It’s a win-win for students and teachers.
How to create accessible video lessons
Creating an online course that more students can understand doesn’t take a lot of technical knowledge. Past methods include painstakingly typing out text or using poor-quality automated closed captions. With more learning communities turning to text enhancements, it’s a must for classrooms. Luckily, these steps can be completed in a day for an accessible learning experience.
- Record your lesson video
Whatever platform you eventually upload your video to, a quality video with a clear audio track is a must. Use a sound-proofed room, if possible. Consider a podcasting microphone to filter out background noise. Save your video file in a common format, such as MP4.
- Create a transcription file
Pulling the audio from your video used to take work and special software. Now, you can easily upload your entire lesson video to have the audio pulled and transcribed. Choose from two options:
- Have human transcribers process your audio with up to 99% accuracy. Get files within 12 hours. This is the best choice for audio files with background noise, heavy regional dialects, or breathy sounds.
- Use the AI option for automated transcription. This is a cheaper and quicker option with up to 80% accuracy in 5 minutes. Your results will vary, however, based on audio quality.
Upload your file by going to Rev’s order page. You can upload your file one of three ways:
- Drag and drop your file from your computer’s desktop.
- Click the “browse” button to navigate to computer files.
- Paste in the URL to a public site for sharing. (A Google file, for example, must be set to “anyone with the link can view and edit.”)
Allow time for the file to upload, usually just seconds. On the checkout screen, enter any coupon codes and select whether you want the human or AI option. You’ll be given a final price to confirm and pay, along with an estimated time of delivery.
- Use your transcription file in your lessons
With your text file ready, you can upload it along with your original video file to the Lesson Management System (LMS) of your choice. Many of the top platforms support closed captioning. Your video and captions should line up together. In addition to on-screen text, consider uploading the text file for reference. Students may like to print out the transcription. They can refer to it during video playback and use it to enhance notetaking.
- Make sure students know how to access captions
If your videos aren’t set to automatically show captions, include prompts to do so. You can refer to these tools in your lesson plan, syllabus, and again in the web interface for your LMS. Captions are only useful if people know to use them.
Finally, you may want to take your online education accessibility efforts one step further. By using Rev’s translator services, you can upload your English audio files and get transcripts back in another language. Videos are most accessible with on-screen text and a separate text file. This option helps you reach more students from more cultures.
Making Educational Content Accessible and Searchable
Online education grew significantly in 2020 and shows no signs of stopping. As educators and professionals consider how to better meet student needs, text will become more important. If this is your first video lesson – or fiftieth – the steps to getting it right are simple. Use a quality transcription option to make courses accessible to more students, and watch your efforts lead to better outcomes.