Video Captioning

Prioritizing Captioning

This guide is intended to provide practical information to help faculty members make decisions about when and how to caption video instructional materials. As a guiding principle, all learners have an equal right to high-quality captions for all instructional materials; auto-captioned videos are necessary but not sufficient to guarantee equitable access to course content. Just as you would not provide some students with an edited textbook and some with a version that had not been proofread, you should ensure that your video captions have been proofread by a human reader to avoid confusing, unintelligible, or even inappropriate captioning errors. 

Highest Priority for Captioning:

  • A student or university staff member has requested accommodation that requires captioning.
  • The material is to be used in an online course.
  • The material is posted to the university’s public-facing website and access is not restricted (as it might be if posted in Blackboard).
  • The material will be re-used more than one semester.
  • The material is being created new in newly revised segments of existing courses.

Also Consider:

  • Whenever possible, new multimedia purchases should be in an accessible state. Captions should be present and alt text should be included. If not, permission should be obtained to caption copyrighted material.
  • Captioning is a lower priority for lecture capture (posting a recording of a face-to-face class, or will only be used one semester) and it has been verified that there is no accommodation request on file for the class.

Captioning Procedures

Faculty are encouraged to consider universal design principles as they create instructional materials and select multimedia. When making textbook adoption decisions, please inquire of publishers regarding accessibility of any supplemental materials they provide. The USC Upstate Library is an excellent resource to help in locating and providing suggestions for accessible versions of certain materials.

Keep in mind that copyrighted material that we do no own cannot be captioned without express permission of the content owner, so take care when selecting supplemental media materials from the Internet.

Consult with your departmental Access Advocate for assistance in making captioning decisions. Members of the Universal Design Committee, and staff in Center for Academic Innovation and Faculty Support (CAIFS) are also available to help. Request caption editing support from CAIFS Student Accessibility Assistants by emailing your list of videos requiring captions to

New instructional materials should be made accessible as they are created, including captioning of videos and audio files, such as podcasts. Videos created using video recording applications are always easier to caption than narrated PowerPoint files. Faculty may choose to produce their own captions at the time their video is created or when uploaded to YuJa and/or Panopto.

Learn more about video capture software.


  1. Captioning Prioritization, California State University
  2. Captioning Guidelines, California State University, Chico