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Asynchronous Online Learning Materials: Best Practices

This guide is for librarians and library staff that create asynchronous online learning materials, primarily videos tutorials.


Recorded media can draw in your audience and convey ideas more vividly. But captioning is one of the most well-known access needs. Let us do all that we can to include the widest audience by following the basic access principles below. 

Audio Transcripts

Students that cannot hear a podcast, recorded class lecture, or other audio clip will be excluded from essential content if they are not provided with a text transcript. 

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 in any easy-to-find location. 

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

Pre-Recorded Video Captions

You can either send your videos out to a third-party service, such as Cielo24, and pay to have your video captioned OR caption videos yourself using Kaltura or YouTube (using YouTube to caption doesn't mean that your videos have to be posted publicly on YouTube).

Audio Description for Video Content

Videos or online meetings 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 the visual content is already being described, as in a traditional lecture.

The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) offers a Description Tip Sheet.

More Accessibility Resources