Captioned Media & Audio Description Policy
North Iowa Area Community College is committed to the fundamental academic principle of accessibility by providing equal access to all of NIACC’s programs & services. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990) & the ADA Amendments Act (2008), protects persons with disabilities from discrimination through barriers to communication. Communications with individuals with disabilities must be as effective as communication with others. The use of captioned media and audio description are methods in breaking down these barriers to equal communication access.
Captioning – A text version of the spoken elements of a television, movie, or computer presentation.
Audio Description – A spoken narration of key visual elements of a visually delivered medium.
Note: This policy primarily focuses on captioned media. If you’re using a video that’s heavily visually delivered, then audio description requirements also apply.
Media resources are differentiated by the following categories
- Media created each semester for use by students only for that semester. This primarily reflects lecture capture videos or single use videos to be displayed for students in that one semester.
- Media used in the classroom that is provided beyond capturing a lecture or media that may be used for more than one semester. An example would include videos provided online by YouTube or other sources, videos provided by the publisher, etc.
- All media resources that fall under the 2nd category should be captioned.
Notes for those who fall under Category 2:
- Before using an existing video currently in inventory or recorded from another source, obtain copyright permission to caption or audio describe. The video may not be used unless it is accessible.
- If the video is heavily visual then an audio description will need to be included to ensure those that cannot see the visual video know what’s occurring.
- When using audiovisual media, view with captions turned on. This not only helps Deaf/Hard of Hearing Students but other students that learn best through reading the material.
- Only show captioned media in the classroom and only assign captioned media as a course requirement.
- It’s the responsibility of the user to ensure media is captioned or audio described before use. The process of obtaining copyright permission can take time, so begin early.
Steps in securing captioned media
- If a particular product is not available with captioning, and NIACC requires that particular product, the purchaser will obtain written permission from the copyright owner to add captions to the video. In the event that owner permission is denied, a suitable captioned alternative should be sought.
- Once permission is obtained, provide the video (requiring captioning) to NIACC Disability Services. This office will determine the best method in obtaining captioning. Please provide advanced notice to this office to ensure the captioning can be completed by the time you require its use.
- If you’re interested in learning to caption videos yourself, you may speak with the Counselor for Disability Services for some options.
Please note: When possible, always choose media that’s already captioned.
Obtaining Copyright Permission to Caption Videos
In order to comply with copyright laws, videos should not be captioned without the copyright owner’s permission. The process to obtain permission to caption videos can be lengthy. Once copyright permission has been obtained, contact Disability Services so they may continue the necessary steps to have the video captioned. Videos should not circulate until captioning has been completed.
Obtaining Permission to add captions to materials that are copyrighted
- Look over the material to find the publisher’s or owner’s information and contact them to ask permission to add captions to their work.
- Many publishers have a “permissions” website where a request for “permissions” may be obtained. Contact Disability Services if you have trouble finding a specific publisher’s information.
- Note: You may use the sample letter in Appendix A to request permission to caption media if a website version cannot be found.
- Give a brief explanation of what, where, when and why you need permission to copy their work.
- Attach a copy of the written agreement to the media you plan to have captioned.
- Maintain a copy for your files.
If there’s no website to request permission, a sample letter, such as the one provided, may be used.
Sample Letter to Obtain Copyright Permission
Letterhead from Your College Campus
(Insert Name/Address of the Copyright Owner Attn: Permissions Department)
Dear (Insert Name of the Contact Staff in the Company’s Permissions Department):
The purpose of this letter is to request authorization to modify instructional audiovisual material to include captioning for students attending public postsecondary education at North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, Iowa.
Please complete the statement that appears on the bottom portion of this correspondence and return it to:
(Insert Name, Title, Address, and Contact Information of College Staff Seeking Permissions)
This request is time sensitive and requires an immediate response. Please reply on or before (insert date).
Title of Publication and Publishing Details:___________________________________
Address/Contact Information for Copyright/Trademark Owner:
North Iowa Area Community College requests authorization to modify the audiovisual material to include captioning for the purpose of ensuring access for students with disabilities within the instructional setting for education purposes. North Iowa Area Community College presently owns _____ copies of the material. The material is used in conjunction with classroom instruction for educational purposes. The audiovisual material will be used until such time the material is removed from North Iowa Area Community College’s collection (unless the Copyright/Trademark Owner specifies an expiration date).
Your signature on this document confirms that permission has been authorized.
Permissions Department Authorization______________________________
(Printed Name, Title, and Company of Individual Granting Authorization)