Making Multimedia Content Accessible to All Students

Several laws require all institutions to provide equal access to information to people with disabilities. As a result, most educational institutions today accept deaf and hard-of-hearing students to enroll in regular classes instead of requiring them to attend schools for their specific disability. 

Likewise, schools now use multimedia content for their students to support the traditional lectures. Many lecturers prepare various forms of content as most students differ in how they absorb information and knowledge. Because of the variety of learning materials, schools use assistive technology in the classroom with transcription and captioning to allow every student access to educational materials they need in an easier to understand format. 

Advantages of captioning and transcription to all students
The rights of students who are deaf and hard of hearing to access schools and public facilities are protected by several federal legislations, including:

  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures that students with hearing disabilities receive an appropriate education. 
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ensures that individuals with disabilities can participate in programs offered by facilities that receive federal financial assistance. 
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act ensures that deaf children can access local and state governments, telecommunications, transportation, commercial facilities, and public accommodations.  
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With these laws to protect students, especially those with disabilities, schools provide educational materials with transcriptions and captions so that more students can enjoy and use them. Here are some of the benefits.

Easier access for students who are deaf or hard of hearing
Closed captions were initially used to improve the viewing experience of people with hearing disabilities. As a result, they can consume more video content and allow producers to increase their audience reach. Today, various forms of video content are available aside from TV programs and movies. With closed captions, students who cannot hear can still follow the lesson.

Improves comprehension
For students who are taking lessons or training through online learning, captions and transcriptions are beneficial. The captions and transcriptions improve the language learning skills of many students whose native language is not English and are taking ESL courses. They can listen to the lesson and read the text version of the audio simultaneously. Aside from improving their comprehension, they learn new vocabulary and improve their pronunciation and spelling.

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Students can download transcripts of video lessons and study them longer. They can highlight essential points in the lecture/lesson. Captions likewise help other people with learning disabilities, attention deficits and autism, concentrate on the written text and absorb speech better.  

View and understand content in sound-sensitive areas
Many people enjoy viewing videos anywhere they are. It is a known fact that viewers in public places and noisy environments prefer to turn off the sound of whatever they are watching. They can continue to enjoy the video content through transcripts or captions. 

It is similar to students. They can still follow and understand their lessons the same way, even inside libraries where noise is not tolerated. 

Aside from the benefits to the students, providing captions and transcripts protect institutions from lawsuits because of disability discrimination. They can comply with the various regulations while helping improve the learning capabilities of the deaf and hard of hearing.