Media benefits most users, particularly those with strongly visual preferences, those from different language backgrounds or those with print disabilities. Although media elements provide many accessibility benefits, they can also provide barriers for those who can't see or hear or otherwise engage with the media element in question.

Your approach to improving accessibility will be different depending on the context of use and the source of the content. These are explored below.

  • Inform users how to use closed captions in your videos and where to find the transcripts when available.
  • Provide transcripts of audio recordings and videos. In some cases it will be okay to summarise the main teaching points.
  • Where a video's main teaching content is in the visuals rather than the narrative, ensure these are adequately described.
  • Provide synchronized captions, i.e. text versions of the spoken words and sounds presented in video.
  • Ensure the video player enables the learner to stop and play the video or audio. Controls should also work with the keyboard only.
  • Avoid auto-play or ensure it is limited to 5 seconds maximum. Make it clear how to stop or pause autoplaying content.
  • Use sharp, clear, good resolution media elements in the videos and test for different device sizes.
  • Clearly signal potential barriers and alternative sources of information (e.g. transcripts / handouts/ online articles).
  • Encourage students to use a descriptive file name and a short description of the key points along with a video upload.
  • Include accessibility in the assignment marking rubric so students are required to provide a transcript or closed captioning.
  • Create a script before you record and then use it. This will make the video better and provide an instant transcript to upload.

Remember! Some compromises may be inevitable at times but the guiding principles should be to add value to as many as possible and to create barriers for as few as possible. Where compromises are required they should be clarified in the appropriate accessibility statement for the VLE or the specific course/module. Remember that transcripts and captions - even short 'key point summaries' - add value for everyone.

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