Recording, Closed Captioning, and Transcribing

There are numerous reasons for professors to record classes, enable closed captioning, and create transcripts for use by students. See below for guidance on each:


Asynchronous sessions will of course already be recorded. Recording a synchronous session enables you to go back and add closed captions or create a transcript, as well as to provide students who were unable to take part in the session to go view it later. Recording synchronous online classes is required, due to potential barriers to accessing the live stream, including:

  • Distant time zones
  • Disruptions of internet connections
  • Conditions that limit one's screen time
  • Illness, quarantine, or other hardships

If a visual capturing of the class is not essential for accessing the information presented, an audio-only recording is an acceptable alternative.

Here is guidance for recording using Zoom and here is guidance as to how to record to the Zoom cloud.

Closed Captioning / Subtitling

If a student has difficulty with the audio portion of a presentation (either due to a disability, internet challenges, faulty speakers, or a noisy household), the most equitable way to present a recording is to include closed captioning / subtitles. Here are tips from the National Deaf Center as to Why Captions Provide Equal Access to a variety of audiences beyond just those who have a hearing impairment, including visual learners, nonnative speakers, those with audio processing challenges, and others. That said, faculty do not have to caption their videos unless they've been informed that they will have a deaf student in their class(es). 

One great way to have your recorded sessions automatically captioned (with subtitles) is by using PowerPoint's built-in subtitling feature, found in the Office 365 version of PowerPoint. Here is Professor Katie Marchetti's video tutorial on how to pair the use of PowerPoint with Screencast-O-Matic to produce a recorded session that is closed captioned. Please note:

  • You'll need a computer with an internal or external microphone
  • The internet browser you use must be either Edge or Chrome 
  • PPT needs to be opened in Office 365 (it won't work on all desktop versions) 
  • The option for "Use Subtitles" only appears in the "View" menu if users first toggle from "Simplified Ribbon" to "Classic Ribbon" in the top right corner next to your name 

If you wish to add closed captioning to Zoom, follow this guidance.

If you've and uploaded a video to YouTube, the University of Washington has this good advice for How to Add Captions to YouTube Videos. 

You can also use the captioning tool built-in to Screencast-O-Matic. By most accounts it’s not great, but below are some helpful tips from faculty to make the most of this feature. 


  • "Screencast-O-Matic is a great place to start if you’re new to captioning. It’s free, and you can turn on auto-captioning (though it’ll still require some post-recording editing)."
  • "When recording, speak as clearly as possible, using a headset or microphone. The built-in microphone on most computers is generally of lower quality than an external one and will not capture your voice as well."
  • "Don’t worry about trying make videos that look too professional, Remember: these might only be used once. Embrace the rough edges."
  • "When reviewing the captioning, correct misspellings, but not necessarily punctuation and capitalization - unless it is confusing."
  • "Keep the original Screencast-O-Matic files so you have a version that can be edited later, if need be."

Additional information regarding captions, transcripts, and audio descriptions can be found by going to WebAIM (Accessibility in Mind).


If a student is unable to access videos through their internet connection, their only way to access your class may be through a transcription of the videos. For this reason, it would be valuable to provide transcriptions whenever possible. Here are instructions for how to create a transcript of your Zoom cloud recordings. You'll see both written and video guidance.


If you have accommodation-related questions, please send them to

If you have technology-related questions, please send them to