Historical Perspective: What Media Needs To Be Captioned, and When

Federal Laws Pertaining to the Use of Closed Captioning in Course Videos

Three federal statutes combine to require that all electronic information distributed by colleges and universities be accessible to persons with disabilities. The requirement of accessibility has been interpreted to include a requirement of closed captioning for course videos.

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act

“No qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity.” 42 U.S.C. § 12132. [Source: Legal Information Institute 42 U.S. Code § 12132 – Discrimination].

The Rehabilitation Act of 1990

Section 504 prohibits employers that receive federal financial assistance from excluding or denying individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to receive program benefits and services.

Section 508 requires federal agencies to provide disabled employees and members of the public access to any electronic and information technology (EIT) that is comparable to the access available to others. The Assistive Technology Act of 1998 requires that all state programs receiving federal funds comply with Section 508 standards. This includes colleges and universities.

Minnesota State Laws Pertaining to the Use of Closed Captioning in Course Videos

The Minnesota Human Rights Act · Minn. Stat. § 363A.13, subd. 1 prohibits discrimination “in any manner in the full utilization of or benefit from any educational institution, or the services rendered thereby” or “to fail to ensure physical and program access for disabled persons.” These provisions require educational institutions to provide accessible content, including closed-captioned course videos.

Completed caption files (.SRT) will need to be uploaded to the to the media file to display as synced captions.