There are some exciting new developments in the world of captioning at UAF right now! Kaltura, our UAF video-hosting platform, recently released a much-improved auto-captioning service. In comparison tests by UAF eCampus, machine accuracy increased to 97.5%-99.3% from about 90%! The new service also makes it much faster to create captions and easier to edit them, with a turnaround of minutes.

This introductory video, created by Jennifer Reynolds for her course MSL F111: The Oceans, contains unedited captions generated by automated speech recognition. Watch to see the specialized vocabulary it gets right, and the few places where a human edit is needed.

Does this news send a thrill of delight up your spine? As someone who always has the captions on when watching Netflix, it certainly does for me. I am in good company — a recent study by Oregon State University found that 98.6% of students find captions helpful. Like me, the students in the study reported that captions help them focus and retain information, and, when there are transcripts attached, studying becomes easier since it makes the video searchable.

Because captions are such a universal good, eCampus employs a variety of strategies to bring captions to as many videos as possible. All faculty (whether teaching online or in person) can use Kaltura’s new auto-captioning service. If you create media for your course through eCampus’s production resources, we will provide 99.9% accurate professional captions. You can also get all content in your eCampus-supported course human-captioned if you sign up for our MVP program. If you have a lot of videos to caption, outsourcing them to our human-captioning partner, 3Play Media, is still your best bet: Contact Sean Holland to start that process.

 

Here’s when auto-captioning is your new best friend:

  1. You’ve used your webcam or a screencast app to record a short welcome or module introduction video.
  2. You’re working last-minute, and don’t have time for the five-business-day turnaround from 3Play.
  3. You want to maintain control over spelling and capitalization for culturally specific content. (Example: Alaska Native place names).
  4. You have a longer video (like lecture-capture) and you want to make it searchable so students can easily find important parts.
  5. Students are uploading video projects — helpful for other students, transcripts and searchability make them easier for you to grade too!

 

How to add auto-captions

If you are the owner or editor of a video on Kaltura, you can find the “Captions Requests” button under the “ACTIONS” menu below your video.

On the screen that appears, submit a caption order for the default option. Depending on the length of your video, it will take 10 to 30 minutes for the captions to become available. Simply refresh the video to check if they’ve been added.

Screenshot of Kaltura interface

Once the captions have been added to the video, some new features will appear! Click the “CC” button to see the captions, and the “Show transcript” option below the video to expand the Interactive Transcript Viewer. This is a searchable transcript that will follow along with the video. There is also an auto-generated tag cloud now attached to your video.

Screenshot of Kaltura interface

How to edit auto-captions

Machines aren’t perfect, so look back through your transcript for errors, especially ones that might cause confusion. To edit captions, go back into the “Captions Requests” screen from the “ACTIONS” menu and click on the “Edit” icon next to the captions. It will bring you to the editor where you see the video side-by-side with the timestamped captions. Simply click on a word to edit.

Screenshot of Kaltura interface

Happy captioning!

Further resources

iTeachU: Caption your course videos to benefit everyone

References

Linder, K. (2016). Student uses and perceptions of closed captions and transcripts: Results from a national study. Corvallis, OR.

Download the PDF for this Teaching Tip.

Clara Noomah

Clara Noomah, M.Ed, is an instructional designer who has worked in the world of education for almost 10 years. She is part of eCampus’s accessibility task force.

cfnoomah@alaska.edu