Case Study

San Francisco State University

San Francisco State University (SFSU) partnered with Verbit to efficiently provide accurate captions for its diverse academic content, offering reliable accessibility for its 27,000+ students.

Table of сontents

In a Nutshell   

San Fransisco State University (SFSU) needed a way to provide captions to its more than 27,000 students. By partnering with Verbit, SFSU found a solution that could handle the high volume of requests without sacrificing accuracy — even when handling niche language in the university’s diverse areas of study. Now, SFSU knows that it can get quality results quickly and efficiently so that its students and campus community have the accessibility tools they need.  

The Challenge  

Because of its size, SFSU had to respond to a high number of captioning requests every week, often at the last minute.  

“In the past, the way video captions were managed was by request, so an instructor, a person would have to come to us and say, I have videos that need captioning,” said Daniel Fontaine, Senior Accessible Technology Services Coordinator, SFSU. “In a university the size of San Francisco State, that is very difficult because we have thousands of classes, thousands of instructors, and there may be thousands of videos that are used.  

Additionally, the campus community uses tools like Canvas Studio and YouTube to produce educational content, meaning the solution must work seamlessly with other technologies. Since the requests might come from biology, law or math classes, there was an added challenge in accurately capturing unique, subject-specific language. When faced with these complications, fully automatic solutions often miss the mark.  

“We want to make sure that everything is captioned to a really, really high level of fidelity and full accessibility and comprehensibility” said Tenysa Santiago, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinator, SFSU. “That means that something like any of the automatic solutions that are out there that you might see on a streaming platform don’t actually meet our level of requirement.”  

The Solution  

SFSU turned to Verbit for quick, accurate captioning to support its large campus community at a level that meets legal requirements and its own high standards. With Verbit, students who need captions never have to wait for equitable access to their course content or live events. Verbit’s proprietary AI and expert human oversight allow the university to get large quantities of content captioned without sacrificing quality. 

Integrations with software like YouTube and Canvas Studio also made it easy to create great, accessible content, all within the tools the university’s staff, faculty and students were already using.   

“We use Verbit to provide professional captions for videos on YouTube and Vimeo and this drastically increases the quality of the content offered in many of our online courses,” said Fontaine. 

The Results 

  • Quality captions at scale  

“The combination of artificial intelligence and the human touch just to verify, just to make sure that everything is as accurate as it can be, that’s what allows us to take all of our content to the level of accuracy and comprehensibility that we need to be able to put in front of our students and say, ‘this is fully accessible for you.’”

  • Accurate results, even for subject-specific language  

“A captioning provider should be able to accurately identify language in a chemistry course, a biology course, a law course. They should be able to get mathematical language correct and the context of the speakers correct.”

  • Fast turnaround times  

“The ability to turn that around and bring it to a vendor that works at scale like Verbit does is really so important and valuable to us in being able to turn around student needs and access needs in general very quickly.”

  • Integrations that make accessibility easy  

“With Verbit’s help, we were able to construct our own integration that helps track and find videos automatically throughout the entire LMS, and that includes YouTube and Vimeo and the built-in players like Canvas Studio, so everything is automatically captioned quickly and efficiently.”

About San Francisco State University  

San Francisco State University is a prominent public urban institution with more than a century of dedicated commitment to excellence in teaching and fostering inclusivity in higher education. The university supports a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate programs, encouraging its over 27,000 students to explore critical thinking and self-reflection.