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Open Educational Resources and Zero-Cost Learning: How to create accessible podcasts

Podcasts General

Podcasts are a great tool to use in online teaching.  Podcasts can be used in different types of courses and for different types of users and learners.  Podcasts are great for self-paced learning, for reinforcing ideas taught in class, for flipped classrooms, for multilingual students, for including guest speakers and for providing enhanced teaching and learning environment. 
When creating a podcast keep these things in mind:

Audio General

People who are deaf, hard of hearing and/or have difficulty processing auditory information can benefit from transcripts. Since they may not be able to use audio by itself, you need to make sure your audio is robust and the information and content can be conveyed in an alternative format. Transcripts convert audio into a readable text format but unlike captions, they do not necessarily display in real-time. There are three types of transcripts: basic, descriptive and interactive. Full transcripts support different user needs and is not a replacement for captioning.

Why making audio accessible is important

  • Adding transcripts to your audio-only content makes it “visible”.
  • Transcripts allow people to read the contents of your audio at their own pace.
  • Transcripts allow keyword searching of audio and video.
  • Transcripts can be downloaded, printed, used offline and/or converted to braille.
  • Students repurpose transcripts as study guides.
  • The text transcript should be a document that’s accessible, preferably HTML, but it can be an accessible document of another format, such as .TXT.

How to create accessible audio

  • Create downloadable transcripts for your audio.
  • There are three types of transcripts:
    • Basic transcripts are a text version of the speech and non-speech audio information needed to understand the content.
    • Descriptive transcripts include information about new scenes, settings, costumes, and “sound gags”.
    • Interactive transcripts highlight text phrases as they are spoken. Users can select text in the transcript and go to that point in the video. This is a feature of the media player. It uses the captions file.

Creating Transcripts for Accessibility

Providing transcripts to your podcasts is the most important thing you can do to increase your podcast’s accessibility. In addition, many users benefit from the transcripts, not just those with a disability.  Transcripts provide users (and creators) a way to search the podcasts for specific content.  In addition, many users might want to listen and follow along reading the transcript as a way to better learn the material.  Also, users can user the transcripts to write notes etc. regarding the topic. The best way to provide a transcript is inline on the course’s page itself, but you can also provide downloadable or linked transcripts.