Open Caption Videos
One of the things I love about my new school is that they want to share the work we are doing in the classroom. We are working together to have my students create short content that can be shared on our school community.
Our school captions all the videos we create and I have been exploring the benefits of “Open captioning.” In open captioning the captions are overlaid on the video, no matter what.

Why Should Schools Open Caption Videos?


Open captioning is front and center in this project for 3 reasons. The first is accessibility. Captioning videos is important for universal access and open captioning ensures that no matter the platform, the captions will be visible. I used Camtasia to caption these videos, and it was a pretty good transcription process. With the video set up for open captioning, no matter who plays the video, the captions will be visible. Note: I need to think about captions when filming to make sure the lower 1/3 of the screen isn’t doing something the captions will interfere with.


The second reason is visibility. If your school is using Facebook to share what they are doing, you should start exploring open captions immediately. Facebook plays videos in your feed automatically, you don’t even have to click on it. Most facebook users rarely turn up the volume on these videos, if they did everyone in the meeting would know they are watching a video. My open captioning, you put your message in front of every user who glances at the auto-playing video.


If you want the internet to find the great work your school and students are doing, you want to caption and open caption your videos. By taking the time to create caption tracks and transcripts you give each engines the opportunity to see all of the words and phrases spoken in the video. I will usually create a blog post

How To Add Open Captions in Camtasia

Open Caption Videos for the School FaceBook Page

My school asked For these videos I was looking to share from the classroom in a way that works towards our goals. One of my makerspace goals is that the students learn how to share their work with the world. The student video was shot on my laptop with an Ipevo camera and an external Mic. I was happy with the level of noise on the recording, it sounds like a classroom, but you can clearly hear the student sharing.
If you like these videos, like the Echo Horizon School Facebook Page head over to The Page and press the like button!
Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

What is the downside to Open Captions?

Open captioning can make it difficult to add support for a second language on the video. With standard close captioning, I can provide translated caption tracks for other languages. If the goal is to create a video that is accessible to users who speak other languages, open captioning is too inflexible, and close captioning would be the best option. There are even services that work with YouTube to provide translations. 

Do you Caption?

Has your school looked at creating captioned videos? Did you know that using captions on class videos can promote literacy and comprehension?  Share your captioned school videos here for upcoming showcases and playlists. Next time we talk about captioning we will drill down into literacy development and captions.


  1. Hi Sam,

    Thank you for this resource on captioning videos. I appreciate educators getting the word out to other educators about the importance of accessibility and digital content and also your effort to provide easy to follow directions and assistance.

    I have a couple of questions/comments.

    First, you note the value of “open” captioning but do not discuss “closed” captioning at all and I am curious as to why. I can understand advocating the use of closed captions when the video is played through a service like Facebook which, as far as I know, does not have the capacity to serve up closed captioned content in the way that YouTube does. So, you are correct in your assertion that open captioned videos, where the captioning is embedded inside the video content, are more accessible (as you put it “visible”) regardless of the video player being used. But the downside of open captions is that the size of the player window cannot always be controlled and when the viewing area is reduced (shrunk), the captioning content may become so small that it cannot be easily read. The same can happen when the viewing area is over-sized and the captioning, as well as the video, become pixilated.

    The advantage of closed captioning is that the text content is separate from the video feed which allows for several things. First, the text/transcript content can be separately indexed which improves SEO. Secondly, the user viewing the content can usually adjust the font sizes and colors to meet their needs. They can also usually move the location of the captioned content for better viewing (unfortunately this works in only a few video players). And the third advantage is that the text can be easily posted as a separate transcript which may be used for other purposes.

    Both open and closed caption meet accessibility guidelines (Section 508 and the WCAG v2.0), so either may be used. Better to use some captioning than no captioning.

    Good luck and thank you again for sharing. I will send out this link to others.

    • Hi John,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to check out TeacherCast and write this great comment. I will make sure that we can support your questions and get back to you with some keen replies very soon.

    • John,

      You are of course totally right on the value of closed captions. I was writing about open here because the use of open captions has been a bit of a revelation for me, especially in the FB space.
      I like using Camtasia for closed captions, but I also enjoy Youtube’s “auto” captioning, IF the user takes the time to edit the captions.I appreciate you sharing the link and if you think we should also create more resources for closed captioning, we can add that to the editorial calendar. Would you consider writing that piece? It seems like you have great information and a clear thinking point of view.

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