UM Captioning Guidelines


The University of Mississippi is committed to creating and maintaining a welcoming and inclusive educational and working environment for all people of all abilities and to ensuring equal access to information and services for all its constituencies. 

The University is committed to adhering to the requirements of Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, by providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities.  

The most effective means of providing equal access to videos, movie clips, DVDs, and films is through the use of products with open or closed-captioning or subtitles, whether they are shown in class, assigned outside of class through a learning management system (i.e., Blackboard), or used for other University purposes such as on the web or social media.  

The most effective means of providing equal access to audio content such as podcasts or other audio-only content is transcripts. 

Pre-Recorded Video Captioning Guidelines

Captions can either be open or closed. Closed captions can be turned on or off, whereas open captions are always visible. Captions must be: 

  • Synchronized – The text should appear at approximately the same time that audio would be available. 
  • Equivalent – Content provided in captions should be equivalent to that of the spoken word. 
  • Accessible – Captioned content should be readily accessible and available to those who need it. 

Under the American with Disabilities Act, captioning/transcription is necessary and required to make audio and audiovisual media accessible. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 success criteria 1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded) requires that captions are provided for all prerecorded audio content in synchronized  media, except when the media is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such. (Level A). 

The following set of guidelines may be used by UM units to prioritize audiovisual and audio media for captioning.

Captioning is Required: 

  • When requested as an accommodation for a student registered with UM Student Disability Services
  • When used as part of a fully online course (a course designated as Web course in the course catalog)
  • When played or shown in a public place (e.g., common areas, hallways, the Student Union, the Pavilion, Rebel Market, academic buildings, etc.) or shown at campus events open to the public. 
  • Media published on UM-sponsored and UM-affiliated public-facing websites, including social media accounts. This includes: 
  • Media used for instructional purposes provided to the general public through UM’s website or social media (YouTube, etc.)
  • Media used to orient, publicize, promote, or explain the University and its services intended to reach the general public (e.g., Admissions, Orientation, Development, Athletics, etc.) 
  • Media intended to reach the general public that is linked to or from the UM website. 

Captioning is Recommended: 

  • When video is used in high-enrollment, required courses.  
  • When video is used across multiple semesters and/or multiple classes. 
  • Any video used in the first two weeks of classes. 

Captioning is considered a low priority: 

  • Media that will be used for a limited duration when the audience is consistently restricted to a group of users where there is no known accommodation for captioning. For example, if access is restricted behind a password-protected Blackboard class where there is no accommodation request for captioning.  
  • When lecture capture is used to post a lecture that is a review of a face-to-face class, will only be available for one semester, and no accommodation request for captioning.  
  • Any archived materials unless by request.  

Live Event Captioning Guidelines

The intent of captioning live events, including those that are streamed or simultaneously broadcast via the web, is to enable D/deaf and hard of hearing attendees to understand the audio content of real-time meetings and presentations such as concerts, plays, seminars and ceremonies. When video screens are used as part of the event, captions visually provide these viewers the portion of the content that is available to others via the audio track. In the event that meetings, classes, or events are held virtually, it is strongly recommended that all meetings include auto-generated captions provided through Zoom, or a similar web conferencing system, at a minimum. 

University departments or organizations, including student organizations, must include an accommodation statement on all event promotional and registration materials, whether in print or online with a contact name and multiple means of contact (i.e., email and phone number). If an accommodation request for captioning is received, it must be accommodated. Please note: for a virtual meeting, the auto-generated caption feature provided as a part of Zoom and other web conferencing systems may not be sufficient for someone who requires captioning as an accommodation. 

Live Captioning is REQUIRED: 

  • When requested as an academic accommodation through SDS. 
  • When an event organizer is notified of a disability-related accommodation for captioning.  
  • When a large event using screens or being streamed is held that did not include a disability accommodation statement on event promotional and registration materials.  
  • If the event is live streamed on UM-affiliated website or UM-affiliated social media accounts.  
  • For a large, university-sponsored, Flagship event that is open to the public without registration where the audience is largely unknown (i.e., graduation, fall convocation) 

Live Captioning is RECOMMENDED in the following scenarios:  

  • Required campus events for all students, faculty, staff or any combination of these constituents (i.e., orientation, faculty meeting).
  • During a live virtual class or tutoring session held on Zoom or a similar web conferencing system
  • During a live virtual meeting or event where audience access needs are unknown

Live Captioning is considered a LOW PRIORITY in the following scenarios: 

  • For a live event, when an event accommodation statement is included in promotional materials and no requests for captioning are received.  
  • For small events where audience needs are known.