California State University Advances Web Content with Captioning for Accessibility
- Better serve students of a diverse, 23-college campus system by applying universal design in automated captioning of video content.
- Address this in a way that meets needs both cross-campus and system wide.
- Begin at the Chancellor’s Office and administration website using the Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI).
- Leverage the size of the university system and use a central fund as a procurement process to get collaboration of services and benefit the greatest number of students and faculty.
- CSU used the CaptionSync automated solution to make video accessible to those who are hard of hearing or deaf.
- Rapid captioning and fast turnaround, a full support service, and the ability to provide multiple output formats from a single submission to enable multipurpose use of content.
The California State University System (CSU) is a 23-campus college system that is leading the way for implementing strategies and guidelines for universal design in captioning, to achieve accessibility for all students. To help move the Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) initiative forward, the ATI selected Automatic Sync Technologies, a vendor providing web- based captioning with its CaptionSyncTM service. AST was working with several CSU campuses to create complete transcripts and time-coded captioning for the video content, helping to meet Section 508 requirements for Web accessibility for disabled students.
“The harmonized use of AST’s CaptionSync service streamlines the process and reduces the university’s costs, but most importantly, the service delivers accessible content to benefit all students, faculty and staff”
-Mark Turner, Director
Accessible Media CSU Chancellor’s ATI Office
In 2007, the Chancellor’s office began an effort known as the Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI). The plan was to help the 23 diverse campuses within the CSU system meet a standard set of guidelines, and to stimulate collaboration in the process to effect changes that would benefit all, including individuals with disabilities.
Mark Turner, Director, Center for Accessible Media in the ATI office, guided the project using a universal design approach to benefit the greatest number of users. The ATI high-level goal was to avoid redundancies of multiple media productions of the same content using a process of streamlining content inventory, and providing shared lists of publications making the information Web accessible. As the work of the ATI advanced, individual campus media projects needing transcription and captioning, could take advantage of a uniform approach and central resources.
“We also have an ATI Community of Practice Website for individuals to get involved and share knowledge across the 23 campuses and the ATI office.”
The options, time and resource restrictions for the ATI project varied before the Automatic Sync Technologies’ vendor contract. Because they were a central vendor service, it helped to reduce campus-to-campus variations in captioning approaches, and led to more consistency.
Still a system as large as CSU has unique situations, with campuses of nearly 43,000 to extremely small campuses, so specialized and multiple vendors are part of the process. With the ATI project, what has resulted is a harmonized use of AST’s CaptionSync service, which streamlines the process and results in cost savings.
Because Section 508 applies to both administrative and instructional materials, CSU is undertaking a review of its content to ensure that all key information is captioned, re-purchased in captioned format, or retired. CSU continues to inventory and remediate its administrative and instructional content. To date, CSU has made good progress with standards and approaches and has succeeded using the high-quality, web-based service of AST’s CaptionSync, to achieve a consistent and affordable method for content conversion.
The Result & Future
Since 2009, AST has helped CSU meet its accessibility goals, working within budget and timeline restrictions while providing a deep resource for the project. Accommodating the central procurement needs, while offering remote submission of materials is helping the rate of progress. As technology has advanced and regulations have been added over the last years, AST stays ahead in understanding requirements, and adapting it’s technology to meet new standards. AST’s web-based service continues helping CSU meet accessibility needs according to the Chancellor’s ATI office goals.