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New captioning options advance accessibility of live online events

From: Division of Information Technology

In keeping with Virginia Tech’s commitment to promoting accessibility for students, employees, and guests, the university has established a fund to support live, synchronous captioning services for eligible events. In addition to services for post-production captioning, providing live, real-time captioning services for key events will help all of Virginia Tech’s diverse audiences participate more fully in the university’s offerings.

The imperative to provide closed captions for large public online events emerges from the legal requirements stipulated in the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, and Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Additionally, captions support the Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies’ (TLOS) Choose Accessible Learning Materials (C.A.L.M.) campaign. By making closed captioning a priority the university demonstrates a commitment to IT Accessibility Policy 7215. Captioning provides a universal benefit to increase engagement and message clarity and aligns with Virginia Tech’s commitment to inclusion and access as outlined in the Virginia Tech Difference - Advancing Beyond Boundaries.

It’s not always simple to determine which events should have live captioning and which can still provide reasonable accessibility with post-production captioning. The TLOS Accessible Technologies group has developed guidance that will help determine the best captioning options for upcoming events. To request free live captions, complete the request form.

The live-captioning resources and funding are the result of collaboration between several offices and groups, including:

  • Accessibility Network at VT
  • Campus Accessibility Working Group (CAWG)
  • Disability Alliance and Caucus
  • Division of Information Technology
  • Office for Equity and Accessibility
  • Operations and Administration
  • Provosts’ Accessibility/Accommodations Working Group
  • Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD)
  • TLOS Accessible Technologies

Funds for live captioning were reallocated from a fund established in the Office for Equity and Accessibility for physical accessibility projects and will be evaluated and adjusted on an annual basis according to the need that exists.

The Accessible Technologies group within TLOS, a unit of the Division of Information Technology, provides technology, resources, training, and expertise across the Virginia Tech community to build a culture of proactive digital accessibility. If you have questions about captioning, please contact 4Help online at 4help.vt.edu, or by phone at 540-231-4357.