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E-Learning Blog: Captioning Tools


Posted: November 29, 2017

Captioning Tools at USFSM

There are many good reasons to provide captions for videos you include in your online or hybrid course.  Not only do accurate captions allow you to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) but captioned videos can also be helpful to students who learn best through reading, those who view your videos in a quiet space and those for whom English is not their first language. As a system, USF has developed a captioning policy that will be fully in effect by 2023.  Ensuring that all video content includes captions or transcripts that are at least 99% accurate is a daunting task….where do we start?  Let’s take a look at a few captioning tools that are currently available and discuss pros and cons of each tool.


Panopto logoThis USF supported tool can be a good option for faculty who prefer to have support in using the technology. Depending on the length of the video, instructors may spend an average of 4 – 5 hours editing for each hour of video. While there is room for improvement in the automated captions generated by Panopto, it is helpful that users have a variety of options including uploading an .srt caption file to improve accuracy, editing automatically generated captions and exporting videos developed in Panopto to a captioning service to generate captions.


Youtube logo

As this tool is 100% web based and free, it is available to users on any computer or mobile device. No download is required.  All captions are automatically generated and can be edited using the web based tool. Videos instantly pause when the instructor begins typing to edit or add a caption.  Initial accuracy of automated captions varies between 73 – 95% depending on number of speakers, length of video, accents used and extent of vocabulary included.

Youtube is continually working to improve the accuracy of its auto-generated captions.  The combination of the ease of use of this tool and its availability to everyone makes it an option worth exploring.

Additional Tools

There are additional tools available other than the ones listed above. Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a captioning tool that includes many helpful features. This tool utilizes machine learning so that the more it is used the more accurate automated captions will be. USF does not currently support the program but individual licenses can be purchased by the user.


When captioning video content, it is important to use what works best for you.  If you are interested in learning more about captioning and want more information regarding other tools and resources available please contact E-Learning Services. We are always happy to help with any questions or concerns.

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