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Student Success Campus Life

Zoom automatic captioning bolsters Miami's accessibility

Student Success Campus Life

Zoom automatic captioning bolsters Miami's accessibility

To further bolster campus accessibility and improve virtual interactions for all participants, Miami has rolled out automatic captioning for Zoom classes, meetings and events. The feature, which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create real-time text-based captions of what is spoken, is enabled on every university Zoom account. 

While automatic captions may not meet accessibility accuracy standards, automatic captions are helpful for many different users.

 “As the world continues to shift to a more virtual environment, we can take advantage of these technologies to make information more accessible and the experience more user-friendly,” said Sean Poley, director of assistive technology at Miami. “Automatic captioning is not perfect, but it is helpful and should be considered a minimum requirement for any kind of meeting in a virtual space.” 

Automatic captioning is machine generated, so it can miss some of the nuance of human language. Poley said that’s why it is so important for larger scale events and classes, as well as if there is a participant who is deaf or has hearing loss, to employ third-party captioning services that deliver the accuracy required for accessibility.

“It’s important to understand that Zoom’s automatic captioning is different from live captioning in which a trained individual inputs the captions in real-time,” Poley said.

Poley encourages all Miami Zoom hosts to enable automatic captioning by clicking “Live Transcript” at the bottom of the Zoom Toolbar and clicking “Enable Auto-Transcription.” Step-by-step instructions can be found on the AccessMUcenter site.  

Other tips to providing a better Zoom experience can also be found on the site. Recommendations include things such as: turning off HD video, showing meeting controls, describing visual content, and recording sessions.   

The new Zoom feature builds on the university’s commitment to creating an accessible campus. 

In January, Miami was named one of 20 colleges that create wheelchair-friendly campuses and cultures that promote an inclusive college experience by the wheelchair lifestyle magazine New Mobility. The university was recognized for its efforts to go “above and beyond in providing supports and accommodations” such as: customized single dorm rooms with attached accessible bathrooms; universally designed elevators in Shriver Center and Armstrong Student Center; and a universally designed classroom in McGuffey Hall.

Learn more at the Access for All Accessible Technology Symposium, April 12-16. 

  • Register for the sixth annual Accessible Technology Symposium. Online sessions will be held at 2 p.m. each afternoon, April 12-16.
  • Sessions include social media, virtual reality, built-in accessibility features, and Ally; keynote address at 2 p.m. April 14.