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An important part of making Zoom sessions and recordings accessible is creating captions for live sessions and recordings. This can be accomplished by taking a few additional steps when in a Zoom meeting.

Captionists, instructors, and students can enter meetings via the Zoom integration in myCourses.  If an captionist does not have myCourses access, a link to the meeting must be sent to them in order to join. 

Table of Contents



Settings for Meetings with Captionists (Host)

  • Keep Private Chat On: Captionists rely on the Zoom private chat feature to communicate with professors, supported students, and fellow captionists. Before you schedule your meeting, in your https://rit.zoom.us/ meeting settings, toggle both the Chat and Private Chat to On.
    Chat and private chat settings toggled to on

  • Enable ability for side-panel transcript: This setting provides students with an additional method to view live captions. Before you schedule your meeting, in your https://rit.zoom.us/ meeting settings under Closed Captioning, check the box for "Enable live transcription service to show transcript on the side panel in-meeting". This will also activate the potential to have Live Auto-transcription (AI captions), however the AI captions do not have to be on during the meeting.
    image illustrating steps described above

  • Enable a Captionist to Join:  While scheduling a meeting, if you use the "Only authenticated users can join" setting, make sure to use the RIT Approved Domains option (the default). This option has both RIT accounts and the main caption contractor accounts configured for access. If a captionist cannot get into your meeting, have the captionist send you their work email address. Edit your profile settings in https://rit.zoom.us/ and add their domain (everything after the @ in their email address) to the RIT Approved Domains list. If the captionist does not have a work email address, follow the recommendations at FAQ about captionists/interpreters and security settings.

Adding a Captionist (Host)

  1. The meeting host starts the captioning process by clicking on the Live Transcript (CC) button in the bottom control panel, and then selecting Assign a participant to type.
    Live Transcript Button in bottom of screen. Assign a participant to type at the top of the settings.


  2. The host can then go into the participant’s list, find the captionist, and click the More > button next to their name.
    More button is next to mute button on a participant.

  3. In the menu, select Assign to type closed captions to designate the person as a captionist.
    Assign to type closed caption button is in the menu about halfway down.

Switching Captionists (Host)

Many classes have multiple captionists assigned to them to share the workload of typing. Captionists will communicate with you ahead of time about when and how often this switching will need to occur. To switch the assigned typing role in Zoom, follow the same steps as you would for adding a captionist as indicated above.

Important Notes:

  • If necessary, captionists will remind you -- usually via the chat function in Zoom -- that it’s time to switch captionists.  If you do not see the chat, they may have to verbally interrupt the class to ask you to make the switch.
  • Some multi-hour classes are divided into hour-long blocks for captioning purposes.  If you have the Waiting Room feature enabled on Zoom and elect to admit participants individually, you will need to admit the second-hour captionist midway through class.

Breakout Rooms and Captioning (Host)

Captioning can also be provided during Breakout Room sessions in Zoom.  However, there are a few important considerations for instructors when using these small-group features:

  • Captionists must be assigned to the same breakout room as their supported student(s).  It is a good idea to notify all students that you will be using breakout rooms ahead of time.  Students who use captioning services will need to alert you that their service provider should be assigned to the same breakout room with them. Captionists cannot disclose who their supported students are due to confidentiality restrictions.
  • Captioning can only be provided to one breakout room at a time.  Some classes may have more than one student who requires captioning.  In this case, all captioning students will need to be assigned to the same breakout room, unless other arrangements have been made ahead of time.
  • Captioning can only be assigned by the Host in the main room.  If you have multiple captionists supporting a class and it is time to switch while the students are in breakout rooms, the captionists will have to return to the main room in order for you to manually switch the assigned typing role.

Considerations When Working with a Captionist (Host)

Beyond the technical steps required for working with captionists in Zoom, there are other best practices for ensuring an effective meeting:

  • Since captionists will be capturing the instructors speech, all questions from students will have to occur through the chat tool on Zoom. Check the chat regularly.

  • When reading questions from the chat box, make sure to restate the question before answering it. This will ensure that both the question and answer are captioned for students.

  • Take breaks regularly. Taking a break from instruction every 5 to 7 minutes will provide the instructor a natural opportunity to check for student understanding, and provide captionist the chance to quickly rest or swap with another captionist.

  • If you need to communicate with a captionist during a Zoom session, you can either send a private chat message in the Zoom chat feature or speak verbally to the captionists. Captionists may also use chat to communicate with the host of the meeting if there is an issue with the captioning functions.

  • Please note that captionists will have their videos and microphones turned OFF by default. 

  • Captionists need to manually save the transcript at the end of the session so they can upload the file to the student's Access Services portal. Before ending the meeting, communicate that the meeting will be over soon and pause for 30 seconds to provide time for the captionist to save the transcript.

By following these best practices, we believe that the needs of all students can be met. Following these recommendations will ensure that both synchronous and asynchronous sessions will be accessible to our students. 




Adjusting Caption View During Live Session (Participants)

Participants viewing the live captions can change the font size of captions (review Viewing Closed Caption page). These captions can also be dragged around the bounds of the Zoom screen.

If available in your Zoom app, you can view the captions as a rolling sidebar with timestamps and speaker tags on the right side of the Zoom interface. This sidebar can be popped out and moved around outside of the Zoom screen.

  1. In your Zoom toolbar, click In your Zoom toolbar, click Live Transcript.
  2. Click View Full Transcript to display a rolling sidebar.
    displays instruction above image

If the host has "Allow participants to save fully closed captions or transcripts" enabled in their rit.zoom.us settings, then hosts and participants can save a .txt file of the transcript by clicking Save Transcript from the Full Transcript sidebar.

Captions in Recordings (Participants)

If a meeting was live captioned by a human captionist, these captions will automatically be available in the cloud recording as the "CC Transcript". Please make sure you’re using cloud recording (not a local file) to ensure that captions will be available to students during recording playback.

Students view the captions on your cloud-recorded videos by hitting the “CC” button in the viewing window. The "CC Transcript" (saved live-typed captions) is immediately viewable after the cloud recording is done processing.  There will also be an "Audio Transcript" (automatic speech-to-text transcript) will appear sometime after the cloud recording is done processing (can be hours or days).  The differences between the "CC Transcript" and the "Audio Transcript" are outlined below.

CC Transcript is saved from live captions versus Audio Transcript is an auto-generated transcript.



CC TranscriptAudio Transcript
How GeneratedSaved from the human captionist typing live during the meeting.Speech-to-text recognition on the recording.
When AvailableImmediately after the cloud recording is done processing.Sometime after the cloud recording is done processing (can be hours or days).
Where ViewableOnly as captions on the video, activate using the CC button. You cannot make this appear as a right side scrolling transcript.Captions on the video, activate using the CC button AND right side scrolling transcript.
Wording AccuracySince a human types these captions, the accuracy of the words is high.Since this transcript is machine-generated, the accuracy of the words can be variable depending on many factors. The meeting owner (whoever scheduled it) should edit this transcript to improve the accuracy.
Timing AccuracyDue to the way that Zoom "publishes" a typed caption, this transcript may be out of synch from the audio in the recording (delay).Since this transcript is created after the meeting is done, the timing of the captions is highly accurate, even if the words themselves are not always accurate.



Change Log

DateChanges Made

3/17/2020

Initial recommendations.
3/27/2020Added info about adding domains to pre-approved domains.
4/16/2020Added link about adjusting font size of captions.
6/23/20020Added information about private chat to Settings and Considerations sections. Added new sections for Switching Captionists and Breakout Rooms and Captioning. Clarified the difference between "CC Transcript" and the “Audio Transcript”.
8/19/2020Added recommendation to communicate you will end the meeting and pause for 30 seconds before clicking End so that captionists have time to save the transcript.
12/17/2020Added new method to view captioning (requires hosts to configure an option prior to use by participants).
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