In February 2015, the National Association for the Deaf filed suit against two universities integral to online learning and EdX, Harvard University and MIT. In the statement released about the case, the NAD said, “Federal law prohibits MIT and Harvard from denying individuals with disabilities the benefits of their programs and services, including those provided to the public on the Internet. It is right that Harvard and MIT, which both receive millions of dollars of federal tax support, are mandated by our civil rights laws to provide equal access to their programs and services. The civil rights laws apply not only to services offered in brick and mortar places. They require equal access to electronic services on the Internet that modern technology makes possible.”
In June 2015, the Department of Justice made statements in support of the NAD’s suit. The following February, a federal district court in Massachusetts allowed the suit to move forward. With this lawsuit in place, compliance is essential for universities already using video learning, or transitioning to increased video learning.
Video learning has become an essential and integral part of the educational process. Video learning can:
- Supplement the traditional classroom experience.
- Alter the traditional classroom experience with flipped classroom structures.
- Replace the traditional classroom experience for online students.
Understanding Compliant Captioning
Accessibility for new and older video content is essential to maintain compliance. Captioning regulations are typically set by Section 508, Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. 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.
- Accuracy: captions must relay the speaker’s exact words. Spelling, punctuation and grammar should be accurate 99 percent of the time.
- Time Synchronization: captions must accurately align with the video.
- Program Completeness: captions must continue throughout the video, from beginning to end.
- Placement: 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.
Auto-captioning is automatically available for newly created YuJa video content. Captions can be accessed, downloaded and uploaded, or can be edited through the YuJa Video Editor. In addition, institutions may also opt for human-based captioning services for 100 percent accuracy.
Captioning should not just be available on newly created materials, but also older, archived video content. YuJa enables instructors and administrators to upload previously created video content and create auto-captions for that content.