Home » Distance Library Instruction Virtual Poster Session (Spring 2019) » Closed Captioning in Distance Learning


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Members-at-Large: Karla Aleman and Jennifer Rundels

Closed Captioning in Distance Learning

This poster is part of the Distance Library Instruction Virtual Poster Session hosted by the ACRL DLS Instruction Committee. We encourage you to ask questions and engage in discussion on this poster! Authors will respond to comments between April 1-5.


Jennifer L McGowan

Poster Description:

We will examine how the classic model of communication operates in distance learning when applied to the average student, the hard-of-hearing/deaf student (no captions), and the hard-of-hearing/deaf student (with captions).


(Click the screen shot to view the presentation)

About the Presenter

Jennifer L McGowan is a prospective SLIS graduate student at the University of Wisconsin iSchool. Jennifer spent several years in the library science field as a volunteer and on the job, and has taken classes in this field. Jennifer is hearing impaired, so information transmission is sometimes a bit difficult.


  1. Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience through your poster! Do you have any other recommendations for librarians in addition to providing closed captions for recordings and live captioning for synchronous lectures? Our committee has begun discussing our desire to include live captioning for our events.

    Thank you,
    Michelle Keba
    Reference Librarian
    Palm Beach Atlantic University

  2. Hello Michelle,

    Thank you for your question! I’m pleased that your committee is working to ensure access to information for people with hearing impairments.

    First, I’d like to touch on the actual captioning, if I may. The number one thing I can say is: please have *quality* captioning. I was fortunate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to receive *exceptional* services in both my recorded and live captioned videos. This is crucial, given that the viewer may be new to terminology and topics that are discussed. Since you will be using live-captions, I suspect that this will not be an issue, but I thought I’d throw it out there.

    As to other recommendations:

    – Is there anyway a transcript can be made? I remember during live captioning, a separate screen was provided. I was able to print off the entire transcript for later use if I needed to re-watch the video, and so that I would always have the lecture information.

    – It might be wise to do run-through beforehand to ensure that things run smoothly. Again, the professor I had at the University was extremely helpful in this area as well, scheduling it to coordinate with her office hours and that of the captioner’s.

    -Can you provide an outline of the topics to be discussed? This helped me to integrate the information beforehand. It might include who is talking, the subjects to be discussed, and any terminology or acronyms used. Terminology, as discussed before, may be unfamiliar to the viewer. In the case of acronyms, this might reduce confusion on the part of the captioner and viewer. For example, in CPR (not relevant to library science, I know), the acronym FAST is used to determine the necessity of responding to a stroke. If a captioner types in “fast” rather than “FAST”, the concept may be confusing, but a list of acronyms provided beforehand can help eliminate this confusion.

    -Encourage anyone with a hearing impairment to sit near the front of the audience. This can be done simply by publicizing the inclusion of live captioning.

    -If at all possible, try to reduce as much background noise as possible. This may seem counter-intuitive, since captions should supplement the reception of information. However, if someone is wearing hearing aids, they might experience interference with surrounding noise, especially if they are new to wearing hearing aids. Also, older styles of hearing aids are less sophisticated, and may not filter out background noises as efficiently as the newer models.

    -Please encourage the speaker(s) to repeat any questions posed by the audience prior to responding. This can be beneficial for hearing people as well, if they are situated far enough from the speaker so as to not hear the questions.

    -If at all possible, please encourage the speaker to face towards the audience with their face unobstructed from view. This seems rather simple; however, there have been numerous times in my K-12 and undergraduate years where instructors would face a blackboard/drawing board and continue talking. This is frustrating, and may cause the viewer to miss some information, especially if they lip read in addition to utilizing captions.

    I apologize for the lengthy response, and appreciate your interest in my poster. If you have any further questions, please feel free to respond, and I will answer them as soon as possible.

    Thank you!


    Jennifer L. McGowan

  3. Hello,

    I appreciate this poster board a great deal. There are a number of different way people can do transcription and this is an area where it fits with making materials accessible.

  4. Hello Linda,

    Thank you for your comments. I thoroughly agree. Captioning is an important tool in accessibility, and there are different options available to students in this day and age.


    Jennifer L. McGowan

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