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Category: UDL (Page 1 of 2)

Captioning for Teaching & Learning Video Resources

What are Captions?

Captions are the text that is synchronized with the audio in a video presentation. Captions are important when people need to see what is happening in the video alongside a text-based alternative to the audio information.

What should you include in captions?

  • ALL speech content
    If there is speech that is not relevant, it is usually best to indicate in brackets that it has been excluded from the captions. Example: [A & B chatted while slides were loading]
  • Descriptions of relevant non-speech audio are also usually provided in brackets in your captions.
    Example 1: [doorbell rings]
    Example 2: [example of music by XXX plays]Background noise that doesn’t have any contextual relevance can be left out of your captions.

Who Needs Captions?

Captions provide comprehensive access to the audio content in videos for students who:

  • Are deaf or hard-of-hearing
  • Are in a noisy environment and can’t hear the audio
    Are in a very quiet public environment and can’t play the audio
  • Are not a native-English speaker and need written-word format to support understanding

“As a student, I need captions when I watch videos from my instructor because…”

  • “They use a lot of scientific terms and/or proper names that I haven’t heard or seen before”
  • “The audio in the recording is fuzzy/muffled/poor and it makes some of the material really hard to understand”
  • “They have an accent and I don’t always understand what they are saying”
  • “I have to share my space with other people and I can’t always play or hear the audio when I need to watch the content”
  • “They speak too quickly for me and I miss important information”
  • “I have a hearing disability and captions are the only way I can get the content my instructor is talking about”

Types of Videos Faculty are Creating & Uploading to Kaltura (My Media)

Faculty creations include videos of:

  • Introduction to instructor
  • Demonstrations of course concepts (how-to, hands-on, practical examples, etc.)
  • Mini-lessons / mini-lectures
  • Presentations (e.g. narrated PowerPoint)
  • Interviews / Guest Speakers

Commonly asked question: “Should faculty upload recordings of live-class Collaborate sessions to My Media?”

  • It is not necessary for students’ review purposes to upload recordings of your live-class Collaborate recordings to your My Media. Students can access class recordings directly from the Collaborate section on your course site or via a direct link to the recording.
  • Suggestion: only upload the recording of a class Collaborate session if you need to provide an improved version of the recording by adding captions – and can commit the time to editing any major errors created by the auto-captioning.

How Do I Provide Captions with My Videos?

Always Available: Auto-captioning in Kaltura (My Media)

When you upload video files to Kaltura (My Media), Kaltura’s captioning algorithms automatically generate captions for your videos.

However, it’s important to know that components like background noise, proper names, specific terms/jargon, and variations in pronunciation can present challenges for these algorithms. Sometimes those challenges result in errors. The auto-captioning in Kaltura is approximately 70% accurate, which is comparable to the auto-captioning in YouTube.

You will need to edit your auto-captions. Because auto-captions may include errors that will negatively affect students’ comprehension, you should be prepared to review and edit the auto-captions before you publish your video to students. This is especially important when your video is the primary or sole means by which students get this particular content; they will have no other text-based representations of the concepts or terminology to refer to for comparison.

Available in 2021: (Some/Limited) Captioning support through eLearning

If you are creating teaching & learning video resources for your course(s), you may be able to access some professional captioning support through eLearning.

The budget we have to pay for this service is limited, so we will begin by considering teaching & learning projects that meet the following criteria:

  1. Video is a re-usable and/or shareable learning object; video is not limited to one single course offering. For example:
  • Demonstrations of course concepts (how-to, hands-on, practical examples, lab demos, etc.)
  • Mini-lessons / mini-lectures / presentations (e.g. narrated PowerPoint, Kaltura Capture video; max. 30 minutes)
  • Presentations (e.g. narrated PowerPoint)
  • Interviews or Guest Speakers
  1. Video is authored by the instructor.
  2. The audio quality of the video is reasonably high. e. the spoken word can be understood without having to work too hard to hear it.

Additional consideration will be applied to teaching & learning videos created with the assistance of Camosun’s Audio Video Services.

Out of scope: We will not be able to provide professional captioning support for recordings of live-class Collaborate sessions, or student assignments.

Wondering if your videos might be eligible for some professional captioning support?

If you are creating teaching & learning video resources for your 2021W course or are planning to develop video resources as part of your Scheduled Development plans, you may be able to access help with creating accurate captions.

Please contact Sue Doner [doners@camosun.ca] and Bob Preston [prestonb@camosun.ca] with your inquiries.


Introducing the new ALLY tool in D2L course sites.

As you prepare for a more digital Fall 2020 term, wouldn’t it be great if there was a tool that was always on hand to help make to your online course materials more accessible?

We are happy to share some welcome and exciting news with you, in the form of a new tool we will be launching in D2L on Monday, June 29. The name of this tool is ALLY, which is entirely appropriate because it’s going to be one of our new best friends.

Here’s a snapshot of why we are excited about ALLY:

  1. Support for all students.

Many students actually need or prefer to access their text-based content on different devices or using assistive technology. ALLY makes it possible for students to download alternative formats to the Word, PowerPoint, PDF, and HTML files you added to the course site.

ALLY generates the alternative formats as soon as students select the option they need; alternative formats include such options as HTML (web page), MP3 (audio file), ePub (for e-readers), Electronic braille, or Tagged (formatted) PDFs. Any student in a D2L-based course can access these alternative options in Course Content.

  1. Support for all instructors.

ALLY provides instructors with immediate feedback and guidance on how to improve the accessibility of their course content. By extension, this improves the quality of the alternative formats students access through ALLY.

Note that you can gradually work on improving the accessibility of your content; you do not have to do everything ALLY recommends all at once.

  1. General institutional support.

ALLY also provides in-depth feedback through its administrator tools (Course Reports and an Institutional Report). These reports provide data on how technically accessible course content is across all courses in D2L and what we could be doing better as a whole.

When will you be able to meet this new Ally?

  1. You can email the Centre for Excellence in Teaching & Learning [CETL@camosun.bc.ca] to request a copy of the recording from the 1-hour information session Thursday, June 11.

    ALLY tutorials and tips will be added to the eLearning Tutorials site over the summer.

  2. ALLY will be enabled across D2L on Monday, June 29.

UDL and Moving Online

I am re-blogging this post from Seanna Takacs at KPU, as I think it is very important in this world of sudden shifts from face-to-face to online.  It is not just about putting everything into D2L, but about how to engage with your students and looking at various and flexible modes for doing so.

UDL and Moving Online


Camosun Faculty: Please share this message with your students! (time-sensitive)

Dear Camosun College Students,

** Do accessibility-related challenges impact your student life at college? **

Accessibility challenges for students at college can be the result of a mismatch between what you need to succeed as a student and how components of college experiences & environments have been designed.

For example, you may have experienced accessibility-related challenges associated with a physical or learning disability, or associated with speaking English as a second language, or associated with financial limitations, or associated with the use of technology at the college.

The 2019/2020 “Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Project: Phase 2” is a faculty/student-partners project at Camosun College. Our project team is interested in hearing your stories about accessibility-related challenges in college life, learning what would help to minimize those challenges, and creating learning tools out of your stories that will help our college community better understand how we can all help design experiences and environments that are more accessible for everyone.

** What does our college community need to know about accessibility-related challenges? What do you want us to know? **

We invite you to share your stories with us between February 24 to March 16, 2020 in small groups (Sharing Circles) or anonymously (Online Form).

Questions about this project may be directed to: Sue Doner, UDL Project team leader, in the Centre for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (doners@camosun.ca).

Information about this project and a schedule of opportunities for you to participate may also be found on the project website “Practical Applications of Universal Design for Learning

UDL Guidelines from CAST

Want to dive a bit deeper into Universal Design for Learning?  Well, aside from coming and visiting our own Sue Doner or her website, there are some amazing resources you can check out online.  One I am going to highlight today is CAST – the Centre for Applied Special Technology, which just released an updated version of their UDL Guidelines.

“The UDL Guidelines are a tool used in the implementation of Universal Design for Learning, a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn. Learn more about the Universal Design for Learning framework from CAST. The UDL Guidelines can be used by educators, curriculum developers, researchers, parents, and anyone else who wants to implement the UDL framework in a learning environment. These guidelines offer a set of concrete suggestions that can be applied to any discipline or domain to ensure that all learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities.

Find out more by visiting The UDL Guidelines.

BCcampus Accessibility Workshop Resources

Awhile back, I posted about the BCcampus BCcampus Inclusive Design Webinar Series.  But I since realized that I hadn’t followed up with a link to the resources which were posted later at BCcampus.

So, without further ado, here are the Accessibility Workshop Resources which include the presentation slips, and information on how to create accessible webpages, Word documents, PDFs, PowerPoints, etc.

If ever you have questions about how to create accessible documents for your WordPress sites, D2L course sites, or Open resources, or about how to create and edit closed captioning for videos you create in Kaltura, contact desupport@camosun.ca to arrange to meet with an instructional designer.


Complex Images and Accessibility – Portland Community College Website

When adding images to your documents or web pages/WordPress pages, to meet best practices around accessibility you need to add appropriate descriptive text to your images so that learners who can not see the images have an alternate way to access the images.  But adding text to images can be tricky when you are dealing with more complex images like graphs, maps, diagrams, charts, etc.

This Complex image Accessibility site (which opens in a new tab or window) from Portland Community College has some excellent guidelines for how to make complex images accessible to all.

Supporting Students with Disabilities in BC Postsecondary Online Course

Today, I’d like to take a moment, and a short post, to promote an online course offering, available for you, for free, from the Justice Institute of BC:  the open, online course Supporting Students with Disabilities in BC Postsecondary .  In addition, content in the course and associated resource site are Creative Commons licenced, so material is available for you to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, Redistribute!

From the website:

“In collaboration with Selkirk and Camosun Colleges, Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) has developed this course and a resource website to educate trainers on disability issues in the classroom. The purpose of the course is to increase the success of people with disabilities in a trades / technical program by dispelling common myths about students with disabilities and to address faculty’s concerns and questions about different disabilities. It will help each faculty member to obtain the appropriate knowledge and problem-solving skills to offer accommodations and select appropriate teaching strategies for their disabled students. The expectation is that the new techniques learned will help students achieve their full potential and success in their chosen programs.

This multi-modal course can be taken online independently, or in a facilitated face-to-face group. Throughout the course there are several engaging learning activities including scenarios with reflection questions, case studies followed by discussions, and simulation exercises aimed to trigger learner empathy.

This course provides practical information and easy-to-use strategies to help you to better support the learning of students with disabilities in your classrooms and campuses.

At the end of the course, you will be able to

  • Define what is meant by having a disability and become familiar with a wide range of disabilities and how they impact learning
  • Identify the concepts of duty to accommodate and understand the process of reasonable accommodation
  • Apply strategies and tools from Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to create an inclusive learning environment to accommodate your students
  • Develop personal goals, address institution-wide responsibilities and identify next steps for creating inclusive campuses”


Introducing ReadSpeaker (in the D2L Content tool)

ReadSpeaker “is a web-based personal literacy support tool that makes it possible for the user to listen to texts and documents using text-to-speech technology in a standard web browser”. We will be looking at the version of ReadSpeaker which is found in the Content tool of D2L. Some of you may have already seen ReadSpeaker in action, but for those of you who haven’t, this post will introduce you to how to access and use it in Content.

As noted above, one of the functions of ReadSpeaker is to read text-based content (HTML files, WORD documents, PDF files, etc.) aloud. This gives your students the opportunity to either listen to the content through headphones in situations where they might not be able to read easily (for example, while driving, or when using a phone), or to read and listen to the content at the same time (which is especially useful when trying to assimilate complex content).

There are two main ways ReadSpeaker can be accessed in Content, and we will look at each in turn.

First, for reading “web pages”.

  1. Go to the Content tool in your D2L course.
  2. Click on a page that is identified as a Web Page (if your course does not have “Web Pages”, see reading for WORD documents, etc.)

    Click a Web Page

  3. Click the Listen button at the top, left, and ReadSpeaker will start reading the webpage from the beginning, highlighting words as it reads them.

    Click Listen

  4. The Listen toolbar controls include: Pause or Stop buttons to pause/stop play, the Seek bar slider to move forward through the document, the speaker icon to adjust Volume, and the Download icon to save the audio file to your device as a MP3 file.

    The Listen toolbar

  5. Click the little down arrow to the left of the Listen button to find additional options, including:
    1. Settings: change the Reading speed, Highlighting (word and/or sentence, and colour options), Text Settings (font size, type, colours), General (scrolling, etc.).
    2. Changing between American and Canadian English
    3. Read on Hover: click then hover your mouse over the part of the document you want to hear.
    4. Enlarge Text
    5. Simple View: Highlight text first, then click Simple View. A box will open showing the selected text without any formatting.
    6. Page Mask allows you to highlight parts of the text as it is being read (the mask is a light horizontal block while the rest of the page is darkened). Click + to make the block larger, and to make it smaller, click X to turn off Page Mask.
    7. Translation: Highlight text first, then click Translation (and the language you wish the text translated to). A box will open with the translation.
    8. Word Lookup: Highlight a word, then click Word Lookup. The definition will open in a box.
    9. Help (opens a Help box).

      Additionl functions

Second, for reading WORD documents, PDFs, and PPTs.

  1. Go to the Content tool in your D2L course.
  2. Click on a page that is identified as a Word Document, PDF document, or PowerPoint Presentation.

    Click a WORD, PDF or PowerPoint document

  3. Scroll down to below the page that opens, and click the Open with docReader button.

    Scroll down and click Open with docReader

  4. The page will load into a new interface with a toolbar at the top, a left sidebar allowing you to view Thumbnails or an Outline of the pages in the document, and the document itself on the right.

    docReader interface

  5. In the toolbar, you can Show/Hide the Sidebar, jump to specific pages in the document, click Listen to hear it read aloud (using the Pause or Stop buttons to pause/stop play).

    Sidebar, Listen, Pause, Stop

  6. You can control how you view the document using the Layout mode or Text mode (which will show the text without formatting) options.

    Layout and Text mode buttons

  7. Under More tools, you can access Settings, Page Mask, Reading Ruler, Download mp3 of page, and Save document.Settings gives you the following options:
    1. General: Change the Speed, change the menu language, change how you select your reading area, change how the pages flip,
    2. Highlight settings: Sentence highlighting, Word highlighting
    3. Text settings: Text Colours, Font size, Font type (all with a Preview window)

    Page Mask allows you to highlight parts of the text as it is being read (the mask is a light horizontal block while the rest of the page is darkened). Click + to make the block larger, and to make it smaller, click X to turn off Page Mask.

    Reading Ruler allows you to move a dark block (like a ruler on the page) over the page, for example, to underline the text as it is being read. Click + to make the block larger, and to make it smaller, click X to turn off the Reading Ruler.

    Settings, Page Mask, Reading Ruler

  8. To return to the Content area, use the breadcrumbs at the top of the page (you can’t move to the next page through the docReader application).

    Return to Content using the breadcrumbs


Making Your Print Materials Accessible for All Learners Brochure (and Website)

Those of you who were at our annual Walls Optional conference last spring will remember the launch of a new brochure, designed by our own Sue Doner, called Making Your Print Materials Accessible for All Learners. Well, this brochure is now available electronically at the Download Brochure page on the website, also created by Sue, Practical Applications of Universal Design of Learning (UDL).

In Sue’s own words:

“This website, Practical Applications of Universal Design of Learning (UDL), is one of the outcomes of a 2018/2019 project for UDL-based resources @ Camosun College and was made possible by funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training.

The background research into and outcomes of the 2018/2019 project are intended to help build capacity & awareness at the college for UDL  and other accessibility and inclusive design guidelines.

The focus on Accessible Print Materials is  the first-phase of this website.”

I encourage you to take a look at the brochure as you start thinking about your next term of teaching (and perhaps even for your fall courses). Sue Doner and her instructional designer colleagues s in eLearning are available to provide support for you or answer questions about how to redesign your print materials for accessibility, as well as to show you how you can use some of the new tools in D2L to help make this a bit easier for you.

You can contact eLearning support at desupport@camosun.ca to book an appointment with an instructional designer at either campus, or contact Sue directly at doners@camosun.ca

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