Focus Area Eight
Accessibility in the Faculty of Media & Creative Arts at Humber

Image: Close up of a man speaking into a headset.


Accessibility is an obligation for anyone producing media in Canada and the sooner it is integrated into the workflow, the more seamless and effective media accessibility features will be. In 2017, the Faculty of Media & Creative Arts (FMCA) at Humber College launched an in-house transcription and captioning initiative so that faculty can have original course materials made more accessible for their students. As well as being part of Humber’s accessibility agenda, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requires that captions be available, upon request.

Developing an Understanding

Transcription and captioning are some of the tools the Accessible Media Department in the Faculty of Media & Creative Arts at Humber College uses to help students prosper in an inclusive, barrier-free environment. By transcribing and captioning audio-visual material – including original lectures and classroom materials, audio and video, Humber-produced media and student projects –the Faculty of Media & Creative Arts ensures that persons who are hard of hearing, and who are culturally Deaf, oral deaf, and/or deafened can fully engage in the college learning experience. Transcriptions and captions are also valuable tools for those looking to develop language and literacy skills.

Deepening Your Understanding

The process begins with a request from faculty for a transcript, captions or both for original classroom materials, online lectures or student-created projects.

Work study students enrolled in a full-time program in the Faculty of Media & Creative Arts with experience in film or video production are trained to transcribe audio and caption video by professional captioning technologists from the Accessible Media Department, making accessibility part of the production workflow.

Before a video is captioned, it must be transcribed. Hands-on training begins with learning how to make a verbatim typed transcript that is free of errors. The work study student watches the video and transcribes by listening to the audio and typing the words in Microsoft Word. The Word document is reviewed for typos, grammar errors and misspelling by the captioning technologists.

Following video captioning format and grammar conventions and using captioning software programs, work study students create caption files for video that are accurate and complete. Captions are a maximum of 42 characters per line, with no more than two lines. A reading speed of 140 words per minute is ideal, but can go up to 160 words per minute if editing the content for time would sacrifice clarity. Caption in-and-out times should coincide as closely as possible to shot changes, and each caption should be on the screen for at least one second, and no longer than three seconds.

Once complete and double checked, the transcript and captioning files are sent to the faculty for use in the classroom and online. When faculty provide an inclusive environment by using accessible materials in the classroom, students are reminded to create their own original media content that is barrier-free, provides equal access and promotes inclusion.