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Captioning and transcripts

Do I need to provide captions? 

The University Council has released a statement confirming that the University aspires to comply with the requirements of the Accessibility Regulations 2018 as a model of best practice.  These Regulations require captions to be available for all recordings.  Captioning supports inclusive teaching and learning, and providing captions can help students in the following ways:    

  • Enabling adjustment to new ways of working, for those primarily used to in-person lectures now being delivered online 

  • Providing a backup for technological difficulty (poor connection when streaming, skipping, lag time), or where students are working in disruptive/noisy environments where captions can aid their understanding 

  • Making searching within a recording easier, simplifying revision of key concepts 

  • For those with hearing difficulties, it provides an essential and legally required adjustment to learning 

  • It helps to support those with processing or memory difficulties, by reinforcing verbal content 

  • Supporting students whose first language is not English 

The University is also bound by a statutory anticipatory duty (under the Equality Act 2010) to ensure that all teaching and learning materials are accessible.  We should therefore be providing captioning wherever possible, and in some cases we are required to provide them.   


How do I caption my videos?  

While exact steps vary depending on the platform you are using, most platforms have an embedded captioning function.  This is usually easily activated, but accuracy may vary.  In addition, the University provides Panopto as a recording and delivery platform, and Panopto can caption any video uploaded to it, whether recorded in Panopto or not.  Panopto gives reasonable accuracy with the spoken voice (70-75%), though very technical or foreign language content may be misidentified.  In some cases, the speaker's placement or distance from the microphone, and accent/speaking patterns may also impact on accuracy.

This document provides details on captioning in primary platforms, as well as estimates of accuracy for the most common platforms.  More information on how to produce captions in Panopto is also available on the support hub.  

If you have been instructed to provide captions for a student who requires these as an adjustment to learning and find accuracy in your chosen platform to be an issue, please contact the Disability Resource Centre for more details.  The University has limited access to more advanced captioning agents where required.  


Where can I get help?  

For support on captioning, see the link to the Word document above or visit the Disability Resource Centre’s accessibility pages: 

For help supporting students who require adjustments to study, contact the Disability Resource Centre 

For support on captioning within Panopto, visit the support hub in the first instance, or contact the Lecture Capture team at

For more information on inclusive teaching and learning practice, visit the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning

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