Video & Audio

Ensure media player is keyboard accessible

We know that the YouTube media player is keyboard accessible. Another advantage is that the YouTube player optimizes the video streaming to the user's best settings.

If you are using a different video player, please test it to make sure it can be used by those who cannot use a mouse.

Testing for keyboard accessibilty

  • Whatever the operation or behavior, make sure a mouse is not required.
  • Try to navigate to the video player. Use the following keyboard keys to navigate and interact with the web page all of its content:
    • Tab,
    • Arrow keys
    • Enter
    • Spacebar
    Keyboard commands clearly provided (and common operating system and browser keyboard commands) may also be used. Could you complete the course without using a mouse?

Video Captioning

Instructors are expected to caption/subtitle videos or transcribe audio. The Center for Educational Media has become a resource for captioning information on campus. Contact them for a list of resources on captioning your media.

  • Important Note: If you have a student with a captioning accommodation, do not release any modules with uncaptioned video or untranscribed audio. Wait until all media is captioned or transcribed before releasing that week's module.

Captioning does have many pedagogical benefits, so if you are interested in captioning your self-produced videos here is how to do it in YouTube.

How to caption using YouTube

Before starting, recognize these best practices for success: 

  • Length: Video length - 5 to 10 minutes is best
  • Format: Videos must be in a recognized video format.
  • Sound quality: Audio must be clear in order for YouTube to create good captions. The clearer the audio, the less work you will have to do fixing the closed captions.
  • Missing sound: There can’t be a long period without sound at the beginning of the video. This will cause the audio to not be recognized by YouTube.

Steps for Adding Closed Captions to Videos Using YouTube

Step 1: Google Account Needed, Video File Created

Make sure that you have a Google account. This can be a gmail account or a YouTube account. You need an account before you can upload your videos to YouTube.

Have your video file available on the computer/device that you will be using during this process.

Step 2: Upload Video to YouTube

Sign into YouTube and choose the upload button/icon. Browse to the video on your computer to upload your video. There are Privacy options for you to choose when you upload a video. Once you have uploaded the video, it will direct you to the Video Manager screen where you will see a list of all the videos that you have uploaded and make adjustments (such as adding captions). 

 Adding Closed Captions to Videos Using YouTube

 Arrow 1: Upload – This is the upload button/icon that allows you to upload your videos.

Arrow 2: Privacy Options – This drop down menu gives you the option between: Private, Unlisted, and Public.

    • Private (YouTube will NOT automatically caption Private videos) - Your video will not show up in searches. You will need to add each user that you want to allow to see the video.
    • Unlisted - Your video will not show up in any searches but you can link to it and have people view your video if you share the link.
    • Public - Your video will easily be found by anyone that searches for keywords and/or finds your video. Sharing is very open to all.

Arrow 3: Video Manager – A quick way to access the video manager. The video manager is where you access all of the options that you will need in order to caption your videos.

Video Access Link

Arrow 4: Access Link – This link is the link to your video. This URL may be added in D2L if need be. Note: This URL is not the same as embedding code. 

Step 3: Use the Video Manager to Automatically Caption Your Video

Click the Video Manager to begin Automatic Captioning.

  1. Select the dropdown options to the right of “Edit” (arrow 1 in the picture below).
  2. Select the “Subtitles/CC” from the menu (arrow 3 in the picture below).
  3. When you are finished with the captioning, remember to publish the final product (arrow 2 in the picture below).

Accessing the video manager

Note: You will notice that every video has a blue icon to the right that indicates how the video is listed on YouTube.

  • A closed lock means that the video is Private and that no one can view the video, even if you link to it. You will need to choose who can view it.
  • An open lock means that it is Unlisted and people can view it only if they have been provided the URL.
  • A Planet/Globe icon means that the video is Public and anyone that searches for it, or a related topic, can find and view the video.

There is also useful statistical information listed on the right side of the videos. Information is provided in regard to how many views, comments, and likes for that video.

Back to Captioning...

4. After selecting Subtitles/CC, you will need to choose English Automatic from the options. (Keep in mind, sometimes it takes about several minutes before this option becomes available. YouTube needs time to translate the audio before the option becomes available.)

Video manager -Creating Subtitles and CC, English Automatic choice

5. After you select English Automatic, you will see the captions that YouTube has created. Most of the time there is work that needs to be done in order to get the captions to be accurate. This is directly related to the quality of the audio.

Note: To begin editing, click the “Edit” button that appears once the Automatic captioning is complete.

Note: Videos need to be checked before they go live. Depending on the quality of the audio, the captions may be very inaccurate to the point of having captions with phrases that you would not want the students to see. So please, ALWAYS check your videos with captioning before you allow others to see them.


Step 4: Edit the Automatic YouTube Captioning of Your Video

Remember: To begin editing the captions, click the “Edit” button that appears once the Automatic captioning is complete. The interface is easy to work with and allows you to press play/pause as you edit the video. Select the caption to hear exactly what is being said as many times as you like before typing the corrections for what was actually said. 
Explore the editing interface:

Closed caption area of youtube, edit in video managerArrow 1: This is the area to type all caption adjustments. There is a time stamp on the left side that tells you where you are in the video. There is also a delete button (X) on the right as well as a button that allows you to add another caption (+). Be careful because if you add too much within the caption, it may throw off the timing to the video.

Arrow 2: This option allows you to pause the video while you are typing the caption adjustment. Leave this option on until you get more comfortable with the interface and the process.

Arrow 3: Play/pause the video to continue adjusting captions.

Once you are finished with the captions or want to save what you have to return later for more edits, click "Save Changes".

Caution: Keep in mind that if you do decide to come back to work on it later, that you must select English, NOT English Automatic. If you choose English Automatic it will re-caption everything and you will have to start from scratch again.

The process is not difficult but can be time consuming. Keep the videos short both for ease of editing and for use by students. 5-10 minute videos will hold student attention longer than a 1 hour video.

Audio Descriptions

Videos with unspoken content (slides, pictures, action without dialog) cannot be understood in an equitable manner by students who cannot see the video. This becomes paramount when instructors assign videos where students are expected to respond to what they've seen. 

It's possible that your video doesn't need audio description if all of the visual content is already being described, as in a traditional lecture. If you're not sure, you can check with FITC at 8189 or

If you do decide to describe your videos yourself, here are some suggestions and resources:

  • Use YouDescribe to add your own voice and description to YouTube videos.
  • Additional video description resources
  • What to describe
    • Describe the visual elements that are the most essential to the viewer's ability to follow, understand, and appreciate the program's curricular content.
    • Describe from general (global) to specific (local).
    • Describe additional details as time permits, but don't try to fill every last moment with description.
    • Describe shape, size, texture, or color as appropriate to the comprehension or appreciation of content.
    • Consistently identify people and characters by name or obvious physical attribute (if no name is provided).
    • Describe discernable attributes and expressive gestures, but don't interpret emotion or reasoning.
    • Convey scene changes and the passage of time if it aids in the comprehension of the program.
    • If time permits, describe montages of images (moving or still) that often serve a supporting role.
  • How to describe
    • Use vocabulary that is meaningful to students who are blind or visually impaired.
    • Describe visual action or movement in terms of the viewer's body.
    • Describe shapes, sizes, and other essential attributes of objects by comparison to objects that are familiar to the intended audience.
    • Deliver description in present tense, active voice, and in third-person narrative style.
      Speak clearly and at a rate that can be understood. Use the existing program audio as a guide.
    • Avoid describing over audio that is essential to comprehension (do so only when necessary).
    • Voice descriptions in conjunction with or before (but never after) the relevant visual content is onscreen.
    • Match vocabulary to the program, avoiding jargon.
    • Wait until technical vocabulary has been introduced in the program before using it in description.
    • Voice descriptions in complete sentences if possible.
    • Describe objectively, without interpretation, censorship, or comment.
    • Describe the source of sounds that are not immediately recognizable in the program context.

Descriptions guidelines from DCMP Description Tips

Transcripts for Audio Clips

Students that cannot hear a podcast, recorded class lecture, or other audio clip that is part of the class experience are excluded from essential content.

Include a text transcript in the simplest file format (Notepad in Windows; TextEdit in macOS) with all the information from the audio recording. Post the transcript file next to the audio clip, if embedding the clip on a website.

Note: Transcripts can help all students by making the text from audio-only clips searchable.

Online Meetings

If you have a student or are a student (registered with Disability Services) who requires captioning in an online (synchronous) meeting, make arrangements for a captioner through DAC by emailing them at or calling 615-898-2783 during MTSU business hours. 

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Information for this page was adapted from PCC's website and is based on the Creative Commons license.