Mediasite and captioning

Making improvements to audio and video recordings

The University is running a pilot to produce automated captions on audio-video recordings. This means that you may start to see closed captions (also sometimes called subtitles) available on audio and video recordings in Minerva.

Why are we running a pilot?

We are starting to produce captions for audio-video recordings to improve engagement and provide you with a more flexible, inclusive learning experience. We believe that captions will help you to interpret audio and video recorded content more easily, and you may find written text easier to navigate and understand, alongside other learning materials. Captions will also help us make sure that our recordings are accessible for all our students so that no one is excluded from being able to view them.

This is something new for us, and as speech-to-text technology is still developing, we know that the captions shown will not always be accurate to what is said in the recording. The pilot will help us identify how we can improve the accuracy of these captions and improve the overall experience our students have.

How to access captions within recordings

Information on how you can view captions on recordings is available on the IT Knowledge base.

When using captions on recordings, please remember that:

• These captions have been produced automatically, by a machine. They may not have been checked by your lecturer before being published.
• Captions will vary in quality. The quality of the captions produced depends on the ability of the machine to understand the voice, and the quality of the audio available.
• Do not use captions as a sole source of truth. You should check the statements in the captions against other sources, such as the lecture materials (e.g. slides, notes etc.), and using validated sources.
• You will get a sense of the quality of the captions when reading them – if you notice that the text doesn’t make sense, or contains lots of obvious errors, then you need to be cautious about the accuracy of the text.

If you are unsure about the accuracy of the captions, you should contact your lecturer or module leader directly to make them aware of this.

How you can help us make improvements

If you have the option to view captions during this pilot period, please complete the feedback form to give us feedback on their quality and usefulness, and to raise any questions or concerns you might have.

Your feedback will help us make further improvements.

What will happen next?

We will be rolling out automated captions on all timetabled lecture recordings in September 2020. We will be introducing thresholds for publication of captions to help make sure captions available are of a good quality – where this is not the case, the option to view captions will not be available to you.

You can find answers to some FAQs on Mediasite and captioning on the FAQ page.