How can I make video or audio accessible?

When video or audio is included in your course content, UVA policies (opens new window) require that you provide an alternative method for your audience to understand the content. You can improve video and audio accessibility by providing captions, transcripts, and descriptions of video images.

The following web pages provide resources for students to get help with audiovisual accessibility issues and instructors to get help with adapting their course content for accessibility:

Use captioned media.

Captions are a synchronized text version of the spoken content in a video or audio file that provides basic accessibility.


  • Those who are hard of hearing use captions to experience audio content.
  • Captions can help reading learners to better understand and remember content.
  • Captions can help non-native speakers follow along and understand the content.
  • Someone can use captions to view a video without sound in an area such as a library or loud room.

If you are presenting a video or audio clip in class, it is best to find media that is already captioned.  The UVA Library has many video and media resources (opens new window), and can assist you with finding appropriate captioned content.

The Student Disability Access Center's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (opens new window) also provides captioning assistance for those with an immediate need.

Record or upload video or audio using a media tool.

Screenshot example of links to the Online Meetings, Media Gallery, and Panopto Video tools in a Canvas Course Navigation Menu.

When recording or uploading your own video or audio files, use one of the media streaming tools available at UVA. These tools give people the option to play the files at their preferred rate, providing support for diverse learning styles. Media analytics for video and audio use at UVA show that when given a choice of playback speed, only about 15% of viewers and listeners use the default speed of 1x.

Below is a list of tools that allow for variable playback and offer a variety of features for recording and uploading content, along with links to articles describing some of their recording and uploading features.

Note: The Canvas Files tool does not support variable playback and should not be used to make video or audio files available to students.

Tip: Instructors can follow the steps in How do I manage Course Navigation links? (opens new window) to Enable Online Meetings, Media Gallery, or Panopto Video in their course.

To add Canvas Studio media to a course, follow the steps in How do I use Canvas Studio through the Rich Content Editor in Canvas? (opens new window).

Add captions to media you record or upload.

Screenshot of the Closed Captions Editor in My Media. Graphic link opens modal with larger image. Press Escape to exit modal.

Online Meetings (Zoom), Media Gallery/My Media (Kaltura), Panopto Video, and Studio all have options to automatically generate captions that can be edited to make your recordings accessible. There are also options available for instructors to request more accurate Professional captions for course content. Please see the Help articles below for enabling, reviewing, and editing captions in each of these tools:

Provide a transcript.

A transcript is a textual version of video or audio content that can be read either visually or by a screen reader, searched by a web browser or other software, and scanned by a reader for important information.  

Transcripts should contain the words spoken in a video or audio clip, and additional descriptions, explanations, or comments that may be beneficial.  For example, a transcript of a video that shows children playing ball in a school gymnasium might describe the room and indicate when the teacher blows a whistle to get the students' attention.

If you do not have a transcript of your video or audio content readily available, you can create a transcript yourself.  Note that if you did not create the video or audio yourself, you may encounter copyright issues in creating your own transcript.  Please refer to UVA's Copyright Policy (opens new window) for more information.  For some video and audio content, you may be able to find an existing transcript by searching in the UVA Library's catalog (opens new window) or online.

Note: Minutes are not sufficient for a transcript of a meeting recording (unless done by a court reporter or someone who can capture every word).

Tip: For captioned video and audio files in Media Gallery and Panopto Video, a transcript is automatically available for viewers.

When you embed content from Media Gallery or My Media in pages in Canvas, you may select to use a player with or without a transcript. By default, videos are embedded using a player with transcript and audio files are embedded using a player without transcript to keep the audio player small. For more details about the transcript feature, see How can I use a transcript in Media Gallery? (opens new window).

Include an audio description for video.

Audio descriptions are required for important visual elements of a video that aren't already described in spoken text.

For example, if a graph or chart is displayed in a lecture video, and the instructor does not describe it when speaking, an audio description would be needed to supplement the video.

You can add an audio description in Lecture Capture (Panopto) (opens new window). If you are using another tool for recorded media, audio descriptions can be added by a professional captioning service. The UVA Library's Captioning & Transcription page (opens new window) includes a form to request help.