No-fee closed-captioning services to be provided with Video Express

The cost of closed captioning for videos created using Purdue’s Video Express service and published to the Kaltura video platform via the Video Express website will be covered by the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology beginning with the 2018 spring semester, a move intended to improve the overall accessibility of the University’s web presence.

Faculty and staff currently use Video Express – Purdue’s popular self-service recording studios, available at nine locations around campus – to create more than 50,000 minutes of video content annually. Previously, the cost for closed captioning was borne by the faculty member or department making the video.

For example, the Krannert School of Management has spent nearly $15,000 in 2017 on closed captioning services – a cost that John Fassnacht, the school’s director of online and hybrid learning, says he expected to increase as more and more faculty add video to their courses.

“Not all of those instructional videos are created in Video Express, but a substantial amount of them are,” says Fassnacht. “So making this service no-fee will save us quite a bit of money.”

Even without the savings, however, Fassnacht says captioning has been shown to be worth the investment, because the feature is popular with many students, not just to those with accessibility needs.

“Students have found it very beneficial to be able to read along with the speaker, to reinforce understanding,” Fassnacht says. “Also, we have a lot of international faculty as well as international students, so being able to read the captions along with watching the presentation helps provide clarity to a lot of our users.”

Gerry McCartney, Purdue vice president for information technology and chief information officer, says covering the cost of captioning is in line with Purdue’s ongoing efforts to make the University’s web content compliant with current accessibility standards and augments the University’s educational mission as well.

“Providing captioning helps to assure access for all of our students,” says McCartney, “but it also allows faculty to produce a higher quality product that can enhance the quality of learning at Purdue.”

To take advantage of the no-fee closed-captioning, Video Express users will need to publish their videos to Purdue’s Kaltura video platform via the Video Express website.  The Video Express website will be updated to reflect that new option for the 2018 spring semester. The videos will automatically be sent to the captioning service Cielo24, which will return the captioned video within 48 hours. Once closed captioned for Kaltura, the videos can be moved to a different platform, captions and all, if desired. Videos that are downloaded for editing will not have the option to upload back to Video Express for captioning in the 2018 spring semester but that option is being explored to implement later in 2018.

The no-fee closed-captioning service does not apply to the course-capture tool BoilerCast, which is offered in many classrooms for faculty to use in making their lectures available to students for review and study purposes. Currently, BoilerCast videos are not captioned. The Disability Resource Center does rely on this course-capture system to provide access as a student-specific accommodation. As an accommodation to certain DRC-registered students, the center arranges for captioning identified lectures.

To learn more about Video Express, other available captioning resources, or how to add instructional videos to a course, contact

Writer: Dave Stephens, technology writer, Information Technology at Purdue, 765-496-7998,

Last updated: Jan. 10, 2018