This article is the second in a series discussing best practices in creating an online classroom that gives each student an equal opportunity to learn.

Since our students learn in many different ways, it is important to create a course that contains a variety of content, including  videos and other types of multimedia.

However, when you add multimedia to your course, it is your responsibility to make sure that your content is accessible to all learners. You also need to make sure that you have the right to post the content, for example permission from a publisher or other entity when needed.

For videos what you need to consider is:

  • Do you have the right to use the video, based on local copyright laws and/or the video license?
  • Is the video properly captioned?

Check your Copyright

Current copyright law protects nearly all text, images, audio-visual recordings, and other materials, even if the original works do not include any statement about copyright. Copying and posting copyrighted works online, even for instructional purposes, may violate the legal rights of copyright owners. Nevertheless, instructors have several legal alternatives for teaching with protected and other works online, including:

From Indiana University

Your University Librarian is a great place to start

Librarians are typically highly skilled at finding learning resources that can be legally used in education.  There is also a great chance that the library subscribes to one or more video libraries specifically for this purpose, for example the USF Gleason Library digital collection.

Search the entire web

To search for reusable videos on all of the Internet, try using the Creative Commons search tool.  This search engine allows you to search various different media sites, and yet it will only find results that are available for reuse and modification, if desired.

Search the YouTube video community

When searching YouTube, you can turn on the filter that searches for Creative Commons licensed videos. When uploading a video to YouTube, there are only two licensing options: 1) Standard YouTube license, and 2) Creative Commons – Attribution. Therefore, any video on this site that has a Creative Commons license can be reused with attribution to the video owner.

From the Brightspace Blog

What are Captions?

Captions are on-screen text descriptions that display the dialogue, identifies the speakers, and describes other relevant sounds that are otherwise inaccessible to the viewers of a video, television show, movie, computer presentation, or similar media production. Captioning was developed to assist people with hearing Closed Captions symbolimpairments, but can be useful to all people depending on their situation. For example, captions can be read when audio can’t be heard no matter what the reason, such as a noisy surrounding environment, or due to the need to keep quiet (no audio playing), such as in a hospital or in a library when headphones aren’t available. Captions can also help improve language comprehension and fluency, whether in your native language or a second language. (From the Web Accessibility MOOC for Online Educators)

All the videos that you use must be properly captioned

If you are choosing videos from an outside source, for example YouTube,  make sure that the captioning provided is not automatic captioning, which is not 100% accurate.

One way you can tell what sort of captioning, if any, a video has to check the lower right edge of the video, for example:

This screenshot shows a video with no captions

no captioning

This next screenshot shows a video that has captions that have been automatically generated by YouTube. Accuracy is about 50-80%. You can tell if captions are automatic just by listening, also you will see some of the words in the caption are a lighter color, those are the words most likely to be incorrect.

auto captioned video

When a video has been captioned properly by a human (not auto generated) you will see “English” as a choice in the captions options, see the screenshot below

English is checked

Searching for Captioned Videos

One way to locate captioned videos is the use the word “captioned” in your search terms when you are looking for videos to use in  your course.

For example, in YouTube:

caption in the search terms

You can also use this technique in other video searches, such as Vimeo etc.

TedTalks is a good resource for accessible video

ted talks site

The Gleason Library has digital films on demand

Gleason Library films on deman

Annenberg Learner is another source for free and low cost videos and more

Annenberg learner site can be a good resource for captioned video (available to all USF faculty, staff, and students)


Educational video sites

11 Video websites for Teachers

100 Best video sites for education


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