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Captions for Asynchronous Videos and Synchronous Sessions

As educators, we share the responsibility to make sure that video content is accessible to all students. For asynchronous (pre-recorded) video lectures and synchronous (live) sessions, you may consider ways to provide captioning. Although captioning is typically viewed as a tool that benefits individuals with disabilities, research (Gernsbacher, 2015) indicates that captioning is also beneficial to students who speak English as a second language. Additionally, captioning has been shown to improve student comprehension of and attention to pre-recorded videos and/or synchronous sessions. Below, you will find approaches and resources to creating an inclusive environment for all learners.

In addition to captioning considerations, you may consider other factors to create accessible instructional materials such as short video lectures (9 minutes or less), color combinations with high contrast, and concise alternative-text descriptions for images. Please refer to the Villanova-created online self-paced course: Making Your Course Accessible in LMS for a comprehensive review of accessibility and Universal Design for Learning.


Gernsbacher, M. A. (2015). Video captions benefit everyone. Policy insights from the behavioral and brain sciences, 2(1), 195-202.

Prepared jointly by VITAL, UNIT, Learning Support Services, and Disability Services.
A special thank you to Dr. Kathleen Acker, Assistant Professor, Mathematics & Statistics, and Dr. Christa Bialka, Associate Professor, Education & Counseling for their expertise and counsel.

Villanova University, July 2020