Every University Needs Audio Description Services

Audio description services can play a major role in assisting some of your students in their studies. AD helps students with visual impairments and/or disabilities.

However, more than this, audio description can assist all students. Some may learn better with both audio and visual inputs. Others may simply turn on descriptions because they prefer to listen to a video lesson.

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Whether they are reviewing a video lesson with headphones while their roommate sleeps or watching videos in a sound-sensitive environment, there are a myriad of reasons why treating lectures or educational videos like a podcast can greatly assist your student body.

How To Add Audio Descriptions

Embedded Voice Descriptions: Using this method, audio descriptions are separate digital tracks. They can be turned on as needed. This strategy may be the most effective because all students are viewing the same content, however, they all have the choice to turn on audio descriptions for assistance.

Separate Video: This method is often used when embedding tracks is not an option. In this case, there would be two separate videos, one with audio description and one without it. Though all students will still have access to the video with audio descriptions, keeping track of two copies of each and every video may be unnecessarily time-consuming and confusing.

How Audio Description Services Can Help Your Institution

Aids in Comprehension of Complex Topics

Whether it’s a description of a video, an online book, or any other virtual media, audio description services bring what’s on-screen to life for those with visual impairment. In a biology course, an online textbook will describe DNA through a written description, but there is also a visual description included that people with blindness are unable to experience. Audio description of DNA will paint the picture of DNA strands, providing a much more complete understanding.

Audio Description Services Help Universities Become Accessible

The understanding of pre-recorded video content is essential to achieving learning objectives. Because of this, all government organizations, including schools, are legally required under the 2018 Section 508 Refresh to provide audio description, even without a special request being made.

More Complete and Searchable Libraries

Another major goal of universities is to index their resource libraries in the most robust and complete way possible, giving students every chance for success. AD tracks come with a very comprehensive transcript which can be used for search functions, filled with keywords beyond the media dialogue, to help properly index the content.

Audio Description Resources

There are a few AD resources that institutions should be aware of. These include Description Key, Section 508, Described and Captioned Media Program, and the Audio Description Project.

Description Key

The Description Key is a set of guidelines for successful audio description published by the captioned media program by the National Association of the Deaf. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs.

Section 508

Section 508 gives an overview of audio description services and is published by the “Office of Products and Programs in the Technology Transformation Service of the U.S. General Services Administration.”

Described and Captioned Media Program

This resource provides a variety of articles on audio description. It is funded by the “U.S. Department of Education and administered by the National Association of the Deaf.”

The Audio Description Project

This resource is an initiative by the American Council of the Blind. It offers up some good information for audio description creators. This can be found on the “All About Audio Description” page. This page has a myriad of resources including general guidelines for audio description.

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Nicole E. Flynn, CMO at cielo24, is deeply interested in exploring and communicating the ways in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) intersects with various aspects of our daily lives. She is passionate about exploring the ways in which AI can be ethically harnessed to improve the quality of life and make our world a better place. Nicole seeks to educate and inform audiences about the potential of AI technology and how it can be used to drive innovation and growth.