Closed Captioning

Guidelines for Implementing Accommodations

Closed captioning is critical for students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, or those who may have a disability that requires audio description. Regardless of whether the class is online or in a classroom, a student who receives this accommodation needs closed captioning of all films, DVDs, or video clips (online or offline).

Please check to see if closed captioning or English subtitles is an option on the media you will be showing. If it is not, please contact Disability Support Services at (657) 278-3112 or email at and we will assist you to make your videos accessible.

Additionally, audio files need transcripts. You can forward your audio files to and a transcription will be completed and emailed to you. Please note that there is a 4-week turnaround time for the closed captioning of video content and a 7-day turnaround time for the transcriptions of audio content.


What is closed captioning?

Closed captioning, when activated and previously encoded, provides text on the screen for all auditory signals on a live or pre-recorded show, movie or other broadcast typically shown on television. TV monitor, computer or large screen projection devices. Closed captioning is similar to subtitles in foreign films but adds non-verbal sounds such as sirens, laughter, etc. Subtitles usually only show spoken language.

How do I know if something is captioned?

If the video has been purchased, the label will usually show one of the symbols below if it has been captioned. If you have recorded something off the television (with permission, of course) and it was encoded for captioning you should be able to turn on the captions. 
Closed caption symbol - CC Closed caption - callout symbol  Closed caption symbol - CC in a rectangular box

Did you know?

Educational materials you use in the your classroom, including videos and DVDs, must be accessible to persons with disabilities. It is the instructor’s responsibility to ensure that videos or DVDs shown in his/her classroom are closed-captioned.

Facts about captioning

  • CSUF employs deaf and hard of hearing faculty and staff.
  • The university is responsible for assuring accessibility to media shown on campus for students,  faculty, staff and visitors.
  • Captioning of all media shown on campus benefits everyone: it exemplifies principles of Universal Design. Providing educational materials in multiple formats has been shown to benefit all types of learners.
  • Using an interpreter defeats the purpose of viewing media materials because the intended audience would have to “read” the interpreter instead of the media materials being shown. While the student is watching the interpreter they are not watching the movie. This makes learning especially difficult when the video is showing a procedure or demonstration that the student needs to know.
  • Non-compliance with the above legal mandates could result in a complaint to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in which the university and/or the faculty/staff could be held legally liable.

How do I turn on captions?

Usually the captioning feature is found in the TV’s remote control “menu”. You can ask the Classroom Technology Support Center (ext 2621)  for a TV with a remote control and captioning capabilities. Some older model multimedia projectors are not capable of showing captions unless a decoder is attached (available through the Classroom Technology Support Center ext. 2621).

Follow these steps to turn on the decoder:

  1. Using the remote control, press the menu button.
  2. Select the closed-caption heading or subtitles from the menu. Note that you must choose English from the subtitles menu.
  3. If further assistance is needed please contact the Help Desk at (657) 278-7777.

What if I want to use a video that isn't closed-caption?

New videos and DVD’s purchased must be closed captioned when acquired. If you must use a video that has not been closed captioned, you may call Disabled Student Services at ext. 3112 and request assistance.

Permission must be requested from the producers of each video or DVD in order to legally caption a videotape or DVD. The process can be time-consuming so prior planning is essential.

How does this affect classroom instructors?

Generally, instructors are aware of deaf and hard-of-hearing students in their classrooms because they have received a letter of accommodation from Disabled Student Services, for those students. If such a student is in the classroom when a video is shown, the captioning feature must be turned on. If a DVD is shown, the English subtitles must be activated. The CSU Chancellor’s Office strongly recommends that all videos and DVD’s be closed-captioned even if there is not an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing in the classroom. Many other students, including those with learning disabilities, acquired brain injuries, ESL students and those with less severe hearing losses, also benefit from  having captions showing during a video per the National Association of the Deaf.

If you have further questions about your obligation please contact:

Dena Leischner
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Program Specialist
Telephone: (657) 278-5486