Empowering Everyone

California’s community colleges are designed around the remarkable idea that higher education should be available to everyone. As such, we are committed to ensuring equal access to instructional materials and technology for students of all abilities. In 2002 , the Chancellor 's Office provided legal opinion surrounding the lack of access for students with disabilities. Source: Legal Opinion M 02-22

To assist and accelerate this process, the California Community College (CCC) system has adopted a new accessibility standard. Chancellor Oakley's letter to colleges supports the 2018 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Instructional Material Accessibility Standard.

Think Universal Design. When planning your course design, create your course materials to be flexible should a student request an alternate format to the materials. Alternate formats present printed or electronic documents in different formats in order to ensure everyone has equal access to the information In online courses you won't know if a student has a disability unless they disclose to you or present you with a letter of accommodation (LOA) from DSPS.

Be proactive!

    • Do not purchase classroom videos unless captioned
    • Videos produced in-house must be captioned
    • To ensure your online courses are fully accessible to students the Chancellor's Office has funded the Distance Education and Transcription grant which has particular eligibility requirements.

Captioning & Transcription Procedure

The following is a list of qualifying projects for using Distance Education Captioning and Transcription (DECT) grant funding (revised 2018). Funding is available for California Community Colleges offering distance education classes, for either live or asynchronous captioning and transcription.

    • Online classes
    • Hybrid classes (some instructional hours offered at a distance)
    • On-campus classes utilizing distance methods of content delivery as they evolve (e.g., class capture, web conferencing, vodcasting, podcasting, content posted within a Learning Management System)
    • Digital learning object repositories used to collect and make available digitized content: this content could be used by on-campus, hybrid, online, and other delivery methods

Note: You may also have your videos captioned if you are using 3CMedia solutions. See captioning instructions.

As a reminder, the following types of video do not qualify for funding:

    • Newly purchased videos - since federal and state regulations require that colleges only purchase accessible instructional materials, DECT funding should not be needed for this purpose.
    • Legacy videos in a college collection - the CCCCO provided funding to caption existing collections of videos over a decade ago, so current DECT funds cannot be used for this purpose.
    • The DECT covers apportionment generating classes only--credit, non-credit, but not no-credit.
    • DECT Pre-Approved Vendors

Frequently Asked Questions about Captioning:

1. What are my legal obligations to caption course materials?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibit post secondary institutions from engaging in certain discriminatory actions that interfere with the provision of comparable aids, benefits, and services. Aids, benefits, and services must be “equally effective”—i.e., they must provide students with disabilities “an equal opportunity to obtain the same result, gain the same benefit, or reach the same level of achievement." In addition, the regulations prohibit post secondary institutions from using discriminatory “criteria and methods of administration” i.e., discriminatory “written or formal policies” and “actual practices and procedures.”

2. What is captioning?

Captions are synchronized with the video image so that viewers have equivalent access to the content that is originally presented in sound, regardless of whether they receive that content via audio or text. Your videos are captioned if they show this icon CC. Watch a video about the importance of captioning.

3. When should I caption my videos?

If the course is being offered in a distance education, i.e., online format it should be captioned. Waiting until a student requests the captioning causes a delay in receiving the information and becomes a "timeliness" issue. Office of Civil Rights states, that student with disabilities receive their learning materials at the same time that non-disabled students receive their learning materials.

4. Can I just use a transcript?

Transcripts can be helpful for any student but for a student who is hearing impaired, having the synchronization of what is actually occurring on the video and reading the captioning is timely and increases comprehension.

5. What is the difference between captions and subtitles?

There is an important distinction between captions and subtitles: subtitles provide a translation of dialogue only, while captions are always in the native language being spoken and provide a textual indication of all significant audio information, including sound effects and music. For accessibility concerns, subtitles are not equivalent to captions because subtitles do not convey all of the significant audio information of the video.

6. How far ahead should I submit my materials to be captioned?

At least 3-4 weeks before the date you need them captioned.

7. Can I use YouTube to caption my video?

Yes, however the wording may be off and you will have to go back and edit your content for errors in YouTube itself. Watch how to search for captioned videos on YouTube.

8. How do I search for YouTube videos that are already captioned?

Videos with captions available will have a “CC” icon underneath the video summary in search results. If you’d like search results to only show videos with captions available, enable this search filter:

  1. Enter your keywords in the YouTube search bar
  2. Click the Filters button
  3. Click CC (closed caption)

9. I have old VHS tapes I use in the classroom, can I get these captioned?

Yes, however this may be the time to to upgrade your course materials to DVD's which include captioning. Less costly in the long run and more accessible.

10. If I have a student who is deaf or hard of hearing in my class...what do I do if I can't find a closed captioned copy of the video/audio I will use in class and I can't have the school caption/transcribe the media in time to use for my course?

You will need to work with Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) office to have an accommodation provided to the student in order for them to access the media content for the course.

Make your syllabus available, to show when the videos will be shown in class. This allows the vendor to follow a timeline to ensure videos are timely. Please contact Jana Garnett, DSPS Director, ext. 2364


Steps to REQUEST captioning & transcription for online courses

1. Secure permissions form from the copyright holder to have videos captioned if they were not created by you. If you still have questions please contact the FRC co-director, David Wong x 2862, or e-mail at wong [at] sbcc [dot]edu Note: SBCC Copyright policy and procedures

2. Download, fill-in and e-mail this Vendor Quote form, to Laurie Vasquez. Be sure to check the delivery mode options on the form to determine media type. Mail to: vasquez [at] sbcc [dot] edu

3. The form is sent to the vendor to quote the work to be done, and then for approval by DECT (takes about 2 weeks). The quote is returned for review, before vendor begins work. The entire process may take two weeks, so plan ahead before you actually need the material in your class.

4. Payment is covered by the State captioning grant.

Steps to SUBMIT "electronic" media to be captioned

  1. Faculty members will upload videos to their Pipeline YouTube space. Use your pipeline login to access your YouTube space. Directions on uploading video to YouTube. Update the privacy settings of your videos to Unlisted so you can share the URL in Canvas. Unlisted also prevents videos from being available to a public search on YouTube.
  2. E-mail vasquez [at] sbcc [dot] edu to say you've uploaded the videos to be captioned to YouTube.
  3. Include the Request for Captioning form. Include the YouTube URL's for all video's.
  4. Include in the e-mail your class syllabus (to track when videos will be shown).
  5. Laurie Vasquez will notify the vendor's website to let them know there are files to be captioned.
  6. Once the needed SRT files to caption the videos are created, instructors will be contacted by the FRC staff. The needed SRT files and directions on how to upload them to the YouTube videos will be shared with you. The FRC staff will be available if you need assistance.



For reporting purposes, a class is considered distance education when "instruction is provided through distance education for at least 51 percent of the hours of instruction."

Chancellor's Office 2011 Distance Education Accessibility Guidelines

In this version of the DE accessibility guidelines, two new key areas were added to this document: a conceptual framework, and an FAQ section that addresses real world, current issues that you will encounter.

Also updated is the Glossary and the new Resources list which is comprehensive. The other existing sections of the 1999 guidelines remain in this version and were thoroughly reviewed and updated.

  • CCCCO, Captioning of audiovisual materials (Legal Opinion M 02-22 ) (August 2002)
  • AB 386 - Instructional Materials for Disabled Students: Reducing Access Barriers for Students Who Are Deaf (10/11/09)
  • SB 105 - Applied standards of Section 508 to California (effective Jan. 1, 2003)
    • Basic law: Cal. Gov. Code §11135(d)(2)* "In order to improve accessibility of existing technology, and therefore increase the successful employment of individuals with disabilities, particularly blind and visually impaired and deaf and hard-of-hearing persons, state governmental entities, in developing, procuring, maintaining, or using electronic or information technology, either indirectly or through the use of state funds by other entities, shall comply with the accessibility requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794d), and regulations implementing that act as set forth in Part 1194 of Title 36 of
    • the Federal Code of Regulations."Section 508 on Videos* (c) All training and informational video and multimedia productions which support the agency's mission, regardless of format, that contain speech or other audio information necessary for the comprehension of the content, shall be open or closed captioned.