Podcast (Audio and Video) Accessibility

Podcasts are audio or video files that are created as a series of episodes and distributed over the Internet. Software products are available that maintain all the podcasts that you subscribe to by automatically downloading new episodes, or you can manually choose to download or stream a particular episode. Anyone can make a podcast using a mobile phone, tablet of computer with built-in or free recording software and a microphone.

Considerations

  • Podcasts that are provided as audio require transcripts in anticipation that you may have deaf students. Videos require captioning and consider offering a text summary note as well as a transcript and audio description where necessary for blind students. W3C Guidelines are available
  • Record at the best quality you can and exclude background noises.
  • Recorded audio / video / lecture capture can be replayed and this may benefit to many students – consider doing more with audio or being supportive to students who ask to record sessions.
  • Do not pre-script podcasts in order to create an accessibility ‘transcript’. Writtetn text tends to be more concise and limit the benefits of the podcast for others.
  • Learning conversations – think about providing other ways into such conversations that may complement the podcast as a source for ideas.
  •  Accessibility of audio and video streaming controls. Player controls need to be available to keyboard users as well as those working on touch screen or using a mouse.  Content needs to be audio described, so that a screen reader user can understand what is going on if it is not obvious in the script.
  • Consider the file format of your podcasts. Some file types require certain players to view them. MP3 for audio and MP4 for video both work well with HTML 5 for making accessible web pages.

Additional Resources

  • WebAIM on Captions, Transcripts, and Audio Descriptions for videos and audio
  • Common Craft provides an explanation of what podcasting is, and how it can be used in learning and teaching environments
  • Audacity is a free open source audio editor that can be used to record podcasts or other audio content.
  • Accessible Podcatcher helps provide access to podcasts for users with visual difficulties. It comes with WebbIE, which is an accessible Windows text-based web browser. Podcatcher receives podcasts from your subscribed sources, and is keyboard accessible.
  • Juice Receiver is a free accessible podcast receiver for Mac as well as Windows.