Videos and 508

Usage of videos 

When ordering videos for your department/classes, these must be captioned. Why? Accessibility standards, commonly referred to as 508 requirements, are federal law. When developing your own material or using web-based material with your classes or websites, consider that you should provide an alternate content version (text file or transcript) of your material depending upon the following factors:

  • is the video material used often or an ongoing, integral part of your class or department website?
  • is the video material essential to the understanding of your course or department website?
  • is the video material tied to federal funding?

If you can answer yes to any of the above 3, then you should have the video captioned, transcribed, or alternate text provided.

Steps for captioning your own content

This can be done by contacting Neal Skapura ( in Instructional Technology or Christine Wasmund ( in Media Services. We will be using a California State grant to have videos transcribed/captioned, so there will be a delay from when this material is submitted and when it will be available (30-45 days).

Once we have the smi file (time-coded transcription file) for your video, you will be able to upload it to your EduStream account playlist (see Neal Skapura for this account) and then be able to use the link on a website (, bio-page, WebCT, etc.). 

If you have additional questions about the reasons/requirements for multimedia use in the classroom, you can review this with Neal Skapura or the DSS Office at DVC. But, the High Tech Center at DeAnza College is a recognized training and policy center where useful information is housed - consider starting at their website. Still further, I find Jim Thatcher's website quite useful and easy to understand:

Sample Video File for Caption Workshop: YouTubeCapFile

When not to caption a video file - choosing a text file or transcription

While it would be ideal to have all video files captioned, monetary resources and time are two of the constraints to consider. For example, if the video that you would like to use is not an integral part of your course content/website or is not going to be used on an ongoing basis, then consider that you may still use the video - but it is meant for a short duration or one-time use. 

Alternatives exist for the types of alternative content for the video file as well - text files or non-time-stamped files can be created and are cheaper/easier/faster to produce and can be done by the instructor/employee. This file can be uploaded with the video file or link.

Exceptions to providing captions or alternate text with videos

As stated on page 13, Basic Requirements for Providing Access, of the Chancellor’s Office California Community Colleges' Distance Education: Access Guidelines for Students with Disabilities, August 1999:  

"7. After the adoption date of these guidelines, any distance education courses, resources or materials purchased or leased from a third-party provider or created or substantially modified "in-house" must be accessible to students with disabilities unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the instructional activity or result in undue financial and administrative burdens on the district."

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