Universal Design for Learning: Closed captioning

Universal Design for Learning: Closed Captioning

Closed captioning supports all learners: learners who are deaf or hard of hearing; learners who are impacted by challenges with auditory & visual processing, verbal comprehension and/or focus and concentration; learners who are learning a new language; learners who have poor audio or internet connection; and learners studying in unfavourable learning environments (Matheson, n.d.). Closed captioning is just one option that can reduce these challenges and barriers to learning. Because when learners are able to focus on and engage in information being presented, their understanding and retention of that information greatly increases (Dallas, McCarthy & Long, 2016; Dello Stritto & Linder, 2017). As an institution of higher learning we are responsible for creating accessible learning environments for all learners.

Captioning provides an additional representation of information for learners. It allows learners to engage in a way that may be more effective for their learning style. By adding closed captioning to your course one can avoid the design of a “one-size-fits-all” curriculum, setting the learners up for success. To add closed captioning to Zoom, you will need to have a live captioner. There are two steps to doing this:

After you’ve enabled closed captioning in your Zoom meetings, you must assign a person to type closed captions:

Canvas Studio can also create captions and allow you to edit them after they are generated. This will ensure your learners all have equitable access to videos and tutorials that you upload using Canvas Studio.


Learn how to enable and edit closed captions with this tutorial.


Matheson, G. (n.d.). 5 benefits of live captioning at university. Retrieved May 15, 2020 from https://blog.ai-media.tv/blog/5-benefits-of-live-captioning-at-university 

Dallas, B. K., McCarthy, A. K., & Long, G. (2016). Examining the Educational Benefits of and Attitudes toward Closed Captioning Among Undergraduate Students. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, 16(2), 56–65. https://doi-org.lc.idm.oclc.org/10.14434/josotl.v16i2.19267 

Dello Stritto, M.E., & Linder, K. (2017). A rising tide: How closed captions can benefit all students. Retrieved May 15, 2020, from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/8/a-rising-tide-how-closed-captions-can-benefit-all-students 

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