YuJa Panorama: Simplifying Accessible Course Creation

What Are Components of Digital Accessibility?

Within accessibility, YuJa aims to ensure it’s compliant with the principles of Universal Design:

  • Media content must be perceivable, meaning that it is visible to all regardless of their ability. 
  • Content has to be operable, with an interface that can be navigated by all. This is where features like keyboard shortcuts and audio description come in. 
  • Content must be intuitive and simple. If students have a learning disability or they’re less intuitive when it comes to technology, institutions should be looking for ways to make it easy for them to operate and use as they work through the courses. 
  • Course content also has to be robust; essentially, it has to be scalable.

The Accessibility Solution — YuJa Panorama

YuJa Panorama is unique in that it adds to the comprehensiveness of the digital accessibility offered in multiple ways: 

  • Generating Accessible Alternatives: The high-velocity engine of Panorama digs deep into the file data structure to understand the current state of the content’s accessibility. By integrating into an institution’s learning management system, Panorama can automatically generate accessible formats for users. For example, when an instructor uploads a piece of content into the LMS, YuJa Panorama generates various files, such as Braille for those who are visually impaired, high-contrast for color blind individuals, text-to-speech, HTML, plain text and a tagged PDF version. 
  • Reporting: Panorama also tracks and delivers reports and insights on how accessibility is scaling within an institution. A visual accessibility gauge is located next to the file to make it easy for instructors to measure the accessibility of their course. Reporting allows instructors and administrators to effectively judge the efficacy of their accessible technology, so they can rest assured they’re doing everything they can to assist all types of learners with accessible digital assets.
  • Innovation: YuJa, Inc. is actively innovating to improve Panorama for Digital Accessibility. For example, we’re identifying issues and providing potential solutions to better serve our clients, such as recognizing decorative images, which don’t need alt text, and auto-generating alt text for other images to serve visually impaired learners. This is just one of many objectives our development team is tackling. 

Learn more about YuJa Panorama and it’s features, or request a demonstration

YuJa Helps Make Content Accessible to All

Two students look at tablet in a library.For example, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ensure that students with disabilities are given access to services and are eligible for accommodations to meet their needs. Section 504 works in tandem with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to protect those with disabilities from exclusion and discrimination in educational settings, the workforce and even in their communities. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act mandates that federal agencies make information and communications technology accessible to people with disabilities. 

Technology and Disability Accommodations

Educational technology is required to meet the federal accessibility regulations that make it easy to navigate for students with disabilities and instructors alike. YuJa is fully compliant with Section 508/VPAT, WCAG, CVAA and abides by FERPA and security regulations.

The YuJa suite of products automates many accessibility features for students, primarily through the Enterprise Video Platform and YuJa Panorama for Accessibility: 

  • Videos are auto-captioned, making them accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Auto-captioning creates a word-for-word transcript of a lecture, allowing students to both listen to and read lectures, depending on how they best learn. 
  • High-quality audio recording and text captioning makes material accessible to students with visual disabilities.
  • Live ASR allows live-stream events to be captioned in real-time for viewers to provide improved accessibility to content. 
  • Alternative text is included for images and video thumbnails to convey meaning to users.
  • The Video Platform scales well when text is enlarged up to 200%, such as when used with screen readers. 
  • The HTML5 media player provides keyboard shortcuts.
  • Alternative formats of course material can be generated in HTML, Electronic Braille, EPUB, Audio (Speech-to-Text), High Contrast, and as Tagged PDF files.

YuJa also supports regulations for the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act with: 

  • Video Origination: YuJa offers full support for captioning workflows, including automation, of full-length video programming, Internet video clips, and archival video programming.
  • Quality Standards: Captioning workflows ensure that captioning meets the quality standards outlined by the FCC for clarity, accuracy, timing, completeness, and placement.
  • End-User Controls: Capabilities for modification of captions is included, with tools for end-users to change the text color, opacity, size, font, background color, and window color.
  • Live and Near-Live Video Captioning: YuJa supports recorded and live captioning workflows, including for implementation standards provided by the National Captioning Institute, a non-profit organization.

No matter who the learner is or their abilities, YuJa’s products aim to simplify workflows to enable more accessible, usable technology.

How Compliant Video Captioning Benefits Students and Institutions

In fact: 

  • According to a recent study, videos with captions have 40% more views compared to uncaptioned videos (PLYmedia). 
  • Viewers were 80% more likely to watch a video to completion when closed captions were available, the same study noted.
  • Facebook found that captions increase video views by 12%.

A study by 3Play Media found:

  • 98.6% of students find captions helpful. 
  • 71% of students without hearing difficulties use captions at least some of the time.
  • 66% of ESL students find captions “very” or “extremely” helpful.
  • 75% of students that use captions said they use them as a learning aid.
  • 52% of students that use captions said captions help as a learning aid by improving comprehension.

Not only hearing-impaired learners benefit from captions. The most common reason students reported using captions in the study is to help them focus, but students also said captions help them retain information and can help them overcome barriers like poor audio, difficult vocabulary or in comprehension, particularly if the instructor has an accent.

Understanding Compliant Captioning is Essential

Making video content accessible is essential to maintaining compliance. Captioning regulations are typically set by Section 508 and Section 504  of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In order to be fully compliant, captioning must be present on all videos used for training or teaching.

While the FCC standards are not required for Section 508 compliance, it may be helpful to understand these standards. FCC standards for internet video captioning are only required for content aired on television, not the internet, but they do provide ideal goals for educational institutions hoping to provide the best quality captioning.

Captions should be:

Accurate: Captions must relay the speaker’s exact words. Spelling, punctuation and grammar should be accurate 99 percent of the time.

Time Synchronized: Captions must accurately align with the video.

Complete: Captions must continue throughout the video, from beginning to end.

Placed Appropriately: Captions must be legible and placed to enable viewing of video content.

YuJa’s auto-captioning technology enables both Section 508 compliance, and complies with most aspects of the FCC standards for captioning.

Compliance Protects Your Institution from Litigation

While providing captioning is best practice to ensure accessibility, it’s worth noting that not maintaining compliance can have legal repercussions. An example in higher education are two lawsuits brought forward by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) against Harvard and MIT, which alleged that the two institutions didn’t provide accurate and comprehensive captioning for online course materials offered in their free online programming. 

These lawsuits, filed in 2015, were the first of their kind to address accuracy and quality of captions. Both Harvard and MIT settled with consent decrees in 2019 and 2020, respectively, that set captioning guidelines. The outcome of these lawsuits set a precedent for colleges and universities, who have an obligation to meet accessibility laws with regard to captioning. 

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