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Welcome to my Closed Captioning webpage.  The purpose of my page is to help educators learn about captioning (whether it’s closed captioning or subtitles), how it’s important to all learners, why a teacher should use them, and how to include them in the videos they create.

As an educator, I have worked for a number of years to try to improve my students performance in my class.  I’ve found that it’s important to try to reach students with multiple representation of the learning you wish to impart to your students.  There are many ways to represent you information and closed captioning is a very important one.

Closed captioning is very important to being able to reach the largest number of students in the classroom.  Like most AT, closed captioning serves more than our learners who are hard of hearing.  It helps so many more from the struggling reader all the way to your mainstream students.  Closed captioning allows the learner to read what is being said so they don’t miss out on instruction while puzzling out a word that may not have been enunciated well.  Many studies look at the effects of both closed captioning and subtitles used in the classrooms.  This webpage is intended to discuss how captions and subtitles benefit the classroom, what technology is used to caption and subtitle, and how to caption or subtitle a video.

Closed Captions v/s Subtitles

The first thing you need to understand is the difference between subtitling and captioning.  For the most part, the difference is how it is used and how it appears on the screen.

Captioning can be either closed (turned off and on) or open (always on).  Closed captioning is used when the viewer cannot hear the audio track of a video.  In a closed caption video, all important audio is described in the captioning; this would include a telephone ringing in the background, music that is essential to the plot, and so on.  Closed captions also include the name of the character who is speaking when dialog is on the screen.  Open captions are considered “burned-in” or hard coded on the video track and all viewers can see them.  Captions also tend to have regulations that dictate what fonts can be used and the size of the font.  Usually captions use a black background behind the text.

Subtitling, on the other hand, are always visible.  It is assumed that the audience is able to hear but does not know the language.  A subtitle generally transcribes the spoken word and assumes that the viewer is able to hear the mood music and the telephone ringing in the background.  Up until recently subtitles were burned into the video, with the increased use of DVD’s, though, subtitles can be closed in a similar fashion as captioning.

In this webpage, I use subtitling and captioning interchangeably.

Below is an slideshow overview of captioning:

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