Are you interested in sharing video content with the community?

Video camera filming stage event

Creating and sharing online video content can be an excellent way to engage with students and their families. Olympia School District staff are encouraged to use YouTube to host, caption and share video content. Here are the necessary steps to start this process:

1.   Create A YouTube Account

The first step to creating videos is to create a YouTube account, which is often referred to as a channel. Staff are required to use their district Google credentials to create an account. Once the account is created, it must be registered with ArchiveSocial for archival purposes. Our Communications and Community Relations Department has put together a quick screencast demonstrating the account creation and archival process.

2.   Record your video

Once you have created and registered your account, you are ready to record video. The Olympia School District provides a helpful Google Chrome extension called Screencastify which is available to all OSD staff. Screencastify simplifies the recording and uploading of videos to YouTube. Our Technology Department has compiled this helpful guide on installing and using Screencastify.

When recording your video, it is important to have clear audio. The clearer the audio, the easier the captioning process will be. Audio quality can be improved by using a dedicated microphone or headset and by reducing background noise.

3.   Upload and caption your video

Screencastify users can upload their video to YouTube using the tool itself. YouTube offers three tiers of video privacy – private, unlisted and public. Generally, unlisted is the preferred option as the video won’t appear in YouTube search results, but can be linked to directly. More information on the different privacy options is available in the blog.

Once the video is uploaded, YouTube will attempt to generate automatic captions. This process can take anywhere from five minutes to several hours, depending on the length of the video being uploaded. While these automatic captions are phenomenal in that they remove the need to type out speech verbatim, they are lacking in terms of punctuation, grammar and accuracy. Before distributing the video, the captions likely need to be edited.

Steps on enhancing the accuracy of automatically generated captions can be found on the District’s Website Accessibility Resources page.

4.   Share your video

Once the captioning process is complete, you are ready to share your video. To get the shareable URL navigate to your video on YouTube and click on the ‘Share’ button directly under your video content and click ‘Copy’. Unlisted videos may use this copied, shareable link to direct users to the video via email or on a webpage.

When sharing your video content on other platforms, it is crucial to also include the captions from YouTube. Linking directly to the YouTube video negates this need, but if a video is uploaded to another platform, the captions should be uploaded too. Captions can be downloaded from within the YouTube caption editing tool.

That’s all there is to it!

While the process of creating, uploading and captioning a video can seem daunting, the tools available to OSD staff enable an efficient workflow. If you have questions about creating video content, please reach out to the Communications and Community Relations Department. If you have questions or comments regarding captioning or other elements of accessibility, please reach out directly to Robert Hardy, the district’s Website Accessibility Specialist. We are here to help!

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Creating Accessible Content

Blank canvas hung on wall

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about creating accessible content. Please contact Robert with any accessibility questions.

As a teacher in the Olympia School District, you will have heard a lot about accessibility. Here is a summary of what accessibility is, how it pertains to you, and how you can ensure greater access for everyone in our community!

What is accessibility?

Accessibility means creating digital content that can be understood by our entire community, including those with visual, auditory, cognitive, or motor disabilities. In general, this means we want to create content that works with assistive technology, such as screen readers or screen magnifiers.

What does this mean for OSD staff?

Put simply, all content posted to the web, be it SchoolMessenger or Schoology, must be accessible. While this may initially sound daunting, the workflow for creating accessible content is relatively straightforward.

Creating Accessible Content

There are many aspects to creating accessible content, but there are two elements that come into play most frequently:

Headings

True headings consist of section titles, which enable users of assistive technology, such as screen readers, to skim through a document. While section titles may be created visually using bolding, larger font sizes or underlining, these do not provide a programmatic accompaniment to the text.

In most software, creating a true heading is as simple as highlighting a piece of text and selecting the appropriate heading style. Guides for each piece of software can be found on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page.

Alternative Text

A screen reader operates by synthesizing text into speech. When it encounters an image, it requires a description of the image to read to the user. This description is called alternative text. Good alternative text describes both the content and the function of an image, ensuring the meaning of the image is conveyed to all users.

Alternative text can easily be added in most  software programs – steps can be found on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page.

Publishing Content

Once content includes true headings and alternative text, the author should consider how they intend to publish their content. There are two options, either posting the content directly to a page, or including the document as an attached PDF.

On-page content

Content published directly onto a webpage, either in Schoology or on a SchoolMessenger teacher page, is natively quite accessible. Content written in Google Docs can easily be copied onto one of these platforms. Content from Microsoft Word will require the images to be added back in and alternative text to be added.

Attached PDFs

If an attachment is preferred, the document should be saved as a PDF and then posted to the web. Accessible PDFs can be created using either Word or Google Docs. Word users can simply go to File > Save As > and change their file format to PDF. Google Docs users will need to use Grackle to create an accessible PDF. Detailed steps for both software suites can be found in the blog post Exporting to PDF, or on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page.

Multimedia

For video content to be accessible, all meaningful audio must be captioned. By utilizing YouTube’s speech recognition software, staff are able to create captioned video content for our community.

Videos should be uploaded to YouTube, and then the automatic captions should be edited for accuracy, punctuation and timing. More information on increasing the accuracy of automatically generated captions can be found in this captioning guide.

Conclusion

Creating accessible documents not only ensures more of our community can enjoy our content, but it also often results in efficiency increases. If you have questions about creating accessible content, please feel free to reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

YouTube removing ‘Community Contributions’ feature does not impact OSD video captioning

pexels-freestocksorg-34407

YouTube recently announced they would be removing the “Community Contributions” feature from the platform at the end of September. This toolset allowed for third-party content viewers to provide additional captions to videos.

Several staff members have reached out asking if this will impact Olympia School District’s ability to use YouTube’s automatic captioning platform. It will not – the YouTube automatic captioning platform will be unaltered during this transition. Video creators will still be able to utilize automatic captioning, as well as the captions editing suite within YouTube.

Thank you for your work in ensuring your video content is captioned and available to our entire community. If you are interested in providing video content to our community, please review the Increasing the Accuracy of Automatically Generated Captions guide available on the Website Accessibility Resources page. If you have additional questions or tips regarding captioning or other accessibility considerations, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s Website Accessibility Specialist.

Grackle Docs Exporting Bug

Grackle Docs is a powerful Google Docs tool that allows for the easy creation of accessible PDFs.

Recently, district staff have reported delays in receiving exported PDFs when using Grackle. Grackle is aware of this issue and has advised users to disable the “Notify by email” feature when exporting to PDF.

PDFs exported using Grackle will still appear within your Google Drive. A specific folder may also be selected when initiating the export.

More information on installing and using Grackle can be found on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page. If you have additional accessibility tips or questions, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

Accessibility Workshops offered on July 8 and July 15

Workshop sign

The Communications and Community Relations Department is offering additional Zoom workshops on creating accessible documents and video content.

Creating Accessible Content

This one-hour course is focused on creating accessible documents within Microsoft Word, Google Documents, Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides and other platforms. The course will cover the use of heading styles, exporting to PDF, writing effective alternative text and how to correctly format tables.

Two sessions are currently being offered:

    • Wednesday, July 8: 2-3 pm
    • Wednesday, July 15: 2-3 pm

Enhancing the Accuracy of Automatically-Generated Captions

Attendees will learn tips on increasing the accuracy of automatic captioning, how to edit the captions for grammar and spelling and how to correctly format captions for sounds or music.

Two sessions are currently being offered:

    • Wednesday, July 8: 1-2 pm
      • Meeting link
      • Meeting ID: 977 9167 0567
      • Password: Not required
    • Wednesday, July 15: 1-2 pm

If you plan to attend these trainings, please RSVP to communications@osd.wednet.edu. Have other accessibility questions or tips? Feel free to reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Guides available on the district website

Cluster of wooden Scrabble-like tiles that spell out LEARN

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about accessibility resources available on the district website. Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at Ext. 6105. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

The Olympia School District is committed to providing accessible content for our students and our community. To aid in this effort, the Communications department has created and gathered a wealth of resources on the creation of accessible documents for posting to the web.

These resources may be found on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page, and they cover the most popular tools used within the district, including:

Please take advantage of these resources when producing documents intended for the web. If you use a unique software suite, or if you have accessibility questions in general, please reach out to Robert Hardy for assistance.

Creating Accessible Content workshop offered June 10

Numerous computers in what appears to be a computer lab or professional development class

Interested in sharing online content with the community? The Communications and Community Relations Department is offering additional Zoom workshops on creating accessible content in Word, Docs, PowerPoint, Slides, SchoolMessenger and Schoology.

Attendees will learn the role of accessibility within document creation and how to incorporate it into an efficient workflow.

The next workshop is Wednesday, June 10 from 2-3 p.m

If you plan to attend the training, please RSVP to communications@osd.wednet.edu. Have other accessibility questions or tips? Feel free to reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

 

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Installing and Using Grackle

Grackle Docs logo

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about how to install and use Grackle. Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at (360) 280-5978. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

Grackle is a powerful add-on for Google Docs that acts as both an accessibility checker and a PDF exporter. Available to all Olympia School District employees, Grackle is, in many ways, the shortcut to creating accessible PDFs.

Installing Grackle

  1. Open a document within Google Docs.
  2. Go to Add-ons > Get add-ons
  3. Click the magnifying glass and search for Grackle.
  4. Select the + button

Running Grackle

  1. Open a document within Google Docs.
  2. Go to Add-ons > Grackle Docs > Launch. Grackle will launch on the right side of your document.
  3. Select Sign In with Google and grant Grackle permissions to access your account.

When Grackle is launched, it will scan your document for accessibility issues. A complete list of Grackle errors and solutions can be found in the Google Docs Quick Start guide on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page. When you have corrected an error, select Re-Check to verify the issue has been resolved.

Exporting to PDF

Once all accessibility issues have been addressed, an accessible PDF can be exported from Grackle. Simply select Export to PDF to begin the process. Users may choose to be notified via email once the corresponding PDF has been created. Grackle will also store a copy of the accessible PDF within your Google Drive.

PDFs created using Grackle are accessible and are ready to be posted to the district’s web platforms.

Thank you for your work in creating accessible documents. If you have any additional accessibility tips or questions, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist at (360) 280-5978.

New video captioning workshop scheduled June 3

ClapperboardInterested in sharing video content with the community? The Communications and Community Relations Department is offering additional Zoom workshops on ensuring the accuracy of YouTube’s automatically-generated captions.

Attendees will learn tips on increasing the accuracy of automatic captioning, how to edit the captions for grammar and spelling and how to correctly format captions for sounds or music.

The next workshop is Wednesday, June 3 from 1-2 p.m

If you plan to attend the training, please RSVP to communications@osd.wednet.edu. Have other accessibility questions or tips? Feel free to reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.

Accessibility Tip of the Week: Additional benefits of captioning videos

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about the additional benefits of captioning video content. Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at (360) 280-5978. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

Note: Robert Hardy is offering a Zoom training this Wednesday, May 13, about captioning videos (see information at end of this post).

Providing accurate captions is a necessary step in making most video content accessible. Like other elements of accessible design though, the benefits of captioning videos extend beyond just accessibility.

Captions within YouTube are translatable into dozens of languages using YouTube’s automatic translation tool. While not imperfect, these automatic translations provide greater access to our content. To enable translations, users can turn on the captions, go to settings, select the captions menu and then select Auto-translate.

YouTube Captions menu - Auto-translate is selected

Captioned videos are also easier for users to find. Google regularly crawls online content for their search results. Traditionally, video content has been very challenging for search engines to parse. By providing captions, Google is able to more accurately index the content, ensuring it shows up in users’ search results.

Captioned videos are also easier to search within. Rather than watch an entire video, users can use the transcript function within YouTube to skim through a video. To open the transcript tool, open the three-dot menu and select Open Transcript. This is particularly helpful when watching step by step guides.

YouTube video menu - Open transcript is selected

Finally, captions themselves are beneficial to everyone. Say, for instance, that you are staying in your home for several weeks with your entire family. Captions enable you, and all of your family members, to watch videos muted. In fact, up to 85% of videos watched on platforms such as Facebook are watched without sound.

If you are interested in posting accessible video content and creating captions using YouTube, you can attend this Wednesday’s (May 13, 2020) Enhancing the Accuracy of Automatically-Generated Captions workshop:

  • Meeting link
  • Time: 1-2 pm
  • Meeting ID: 913 4627 2957
  • Password: 012344

Thank you for your work in captioning videos and ensuring they are accessible! If you have any additional accessibility tips or questions, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist at (360) 280-5978.