Helpful Hints for Instructors
Acknowledge the Captioner’s Role
Remember that the captioner is in the classroom to facilitate communication for both the student and instructor. They should not be asked to run errands, proctor exams, or discuss the student's personal issues. Because of the specific nature of the captioner’s role, it is important not to ask the captioner for their opinion or to perform any tasks other than captioning. They should not participate in the class in any way independent of the student or express personal opinions.
Use Captioned Materials
If you are planning on showing a movie, YouTube link, podcast, or any other media that contains any audio content, please reach out to the OAE for assistance with captioning. Please also be aware that automated captions are generally not accurate, and therefore not compliant with accessibility laws. To that end, professional captioners or transcripts may be required in order to make content accessible for all students.
In class, the captioner will position themselves so the student who is deaf or hard of hearing can see both the instructor and any visual aids. The captioner will also require an electrical source for their equipment.
Consider Classroom Arrangement
For interactive situations, circles or semi‐circles work best for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Share Lecture Content
Familiarity with the subject matter will enhance the quality of the interpreted message, therefore please share with our captioner any outlines, texts, agenda, technical vocabulary, class syllabus, and any other background information that would be pertinent.
Speak at a Reasonable Pace
Captioning normally has a time delay of one to three seconds behind the speaker. Speak naturally at a modest pace, keeping in mind that the captioner must listen and understand a complete thought before captioning it.
Use "I" and "You" References
The captioner will relay your exact words. Use personal references such as "I" and "You" when communicating with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Avoid speaking of the individual in the third person; phrases such as "ask her" or "tell them" can be confusing. Alternatively, addressing the student directly by name is appropriate.
Encourage Communicating in Turn
It is important that only one person speak at a time. The captioner has no way of conveying multiple individual’s words simultaneously. Therefore, encourage students to wait before speaking until you recognize them.
Allow Ample Time for Reading
The student cannot read your powerpoint/handout materials and watch the captioning screen at the same time. Allow sufficient time for students to read any written materials before you continue speaking.
Repeat or Paraphrase Questions and Responses
When questions are asked by other students, be sure to repeat or paraphrase questions before a response is given.
Spell Out Technical Words
It is helpful to have technical terms or jargon relating to a particular discipline or concept to be spelled or written out, either on the whiteboard, a class handout, or with some other visual aid.
Adapted Materials | Additional Reading
- Darroch, Kathy & Marshall, Liza. National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). (1998) Northeast Technical Assistance Center Teacher Tip Sheet, "Interpreting." Publication developed through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and produced through a cooperative agreement between RIT and OSERS (H078A60004).
- Office for Disability Services, Ohio State University | Instructor Handbook: Teaching Students with Disabilities (2001). https://slds.osu.edu/
- Vanderbilt University | Creating Accessible Learning Environments.
- The Ohio State University Partnership Grant | Fast Facts for Faculty Series: Teaching Students with Sensory Impairments
- 3 Play Media | Are automatic captions WCAG, ADA, or 508 compliant?
- Communication Access Information Center | CART in the Classroom: Meeting the Communication Access Needs of Students Requires an Individual Approach