Best practices for creating accessible video from a Canvas Studio expert 

By: Verbit Editorial

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A recent study focused on accessibility on college campuses uncovered some serious shortcomings. It found that 80% of respondents believe digital accessibility should be a priority, yet 50% of students and 40% of professionals surveyed stated that their own institutions aren’t doing enough to support accessibility. Almost half of both groups also believe too many barriers exist for students with disabilities. 
 
Luckily, many barriers are being removed thanks to new technologies embedded into online courses, e-learning and learning management tools like Canvas. However, educators and institutional leaders are often uncertain on how to push accessibility initiatives forward. Plus, they often find accessibility daunting and are unaware of how simple it can be to improve their courses and materials to work for everyone.  
 
To dispel the narrative around the complexity of implementing accessibility, including additions like captions, transcripts and described content, we hosted Canvas Studio’s Senior Product Manager, Akos Farago for a live webinar. Instructure, a leading learning management platform and maker of Canvas, recently collaborated with Verbit to simplify the process of adding captions to videos within the Canvas Studio platform. 

Farago joined our education community to outline best practices for creating accessible videos and how to do so within Canvas Studio specifically. You can watch the recording on-demand to see just how easy it can be to create more inclusive video.   

Art Morgan, Head of Product for Education and Government at Verbit, also walked through ordering and managing captioned content in Canvas. Watch the video to learn more about: 

  • The ease in setting up captions  
  • Delegation features to assign captioning responsibilities within teams  
  • Strategies for budget oversight  
  • How generative AI insights like Verbit’s can accelerate course module development  

Click to watch the full webinar

Watch our on-demand webinar

What the latest Canvas integration means for accessibility 

Verbit’s new integration with Canvas Studio allows users to professionally caption their videos directly within the platform.  

“Talking with countless instructors, instructional designers, education technologists, accessibility coordinators and partners like Verbit, accessibility and, most importantly, video accessibility has become a super important aspect,” said Farago. “[Canvas Studio] provides various interaction tools, to eventually turn that passive viewing experience into something that is much closer to an active collaboration between students and students and between students and teachers. 

“With Studio, we place a strong emphasis on video accessibility. It has a built-in caption editor to review the captions, or it is able to help you create those captions from scratch, if needed.” 

A man and a woman at a desk reviewing information on an open laptop

How the Canvas integration works 

Verbit’s Canvas Studio integration enables users to request professional captions directly within Canvas, allowing institutions to make course content accessible for students in just a few clicks. (The integration requires customers have a Canvas account and an admin account in the Verbit platform.) 

“It just really, literally, takes 2 or 3 minutes at most,” said Farago. 

Users simply need to log into the Canvas platform, select settings and generate an API key. They then carry that token over to the Verbit platform, click admin, select ‘linked accounts’ and​ click the Canvas Studio logo from the list of available connections​. Finally, they drop the generated API key in the field for testing and connect to have captions delivered directly within Canvas. 

Utilize caption review to stay within budget 

The integration gives users the ability to review video-caption requests before they are sent to captioning services.  

“A lot of organizations want to give this ability to request captions to all faculty, or most faculty, but they still want to control centrally both who has that ability, and perhaps, review the videos that are being requested for captions before they push it through to get this professional captioning,” Morgan said. “This would allow customers to also control their budget and make sure they’re getting the right videos captioned.” 

Farago explained that there are a couple ways users can set up their accounts.  

One way provides for role-based access. After completing the integration set-up, only administrators have the ability to order professional captioning services. Additional permissions (for teachers or students) could be obtained but would need to be approved by school officials. 

Another way is via an ‘approval dashboard,’ which allows for admins and accessibility leaders to review the ordered captions and view the media on the spot and decide whether they want to approve the orders. There also are auto-approval settings within the dashboard that allow for automatic approvals from specific users, making the entire process even more streamlined. 

A student sits at a desk in a classroom, her back to the blackboard, and works on a computer

Leverage generative AI in the process 

In addition to using speech recognition technology to produce captions and transcripts for videos, students and institutional leaders should also look to generative AI applications to provide them with greater insights and studying materials. For example, Verbit’s proprietary generative AI, Gen.V  enables users to receive additional insights and value from their transcripts. These include automatic summaries, headlines, keywords or practice quizzes to use. 

“Verbit’s mission is to ‘make words work’ and what we mean by that is to essentially go beyond just converting speech into text,” said Morgan. “You also need tools and ways to get that text back into your videos wherever you’re hosting them. You also need tools that allow you to kind of go beyond that original text that you created – translate it into other languages, create summaries, personalize the content for individual learners.” 

“This is really just the beginning as we’re adding more and more features to this,” Morgan continued. “I can imagine having learning objectives and all sorts of things included that help personalize and add to the experience for students and save time. Because once you’ve created the video, you’re not done yet if you’re an instructor, you’ve got to add all these supplemental materials.” 

Partner with dedicated experts in video accessibility 

In addition to providing the latest technologies and simplest integrations to use for video accessibility, what sets Verbit apart is its hands-on team. 
 
We’re always researching and testing new methods of incorporating captions and other accessibility solutions to share with our partners. Whether you’re using Canvas or platforms like Kaltura, AWS, Brightcove and Frame.io, our integrations and dedicated support will help you make your workflow as smooth as possible. Contact us for more information on our captioning and transcription solutions and integrations.