UDL tip of the week- Week 4 Adding closed captions using YouTube

This is week 4 in the UDL Tip of the Week Series from Instructional Technology Services in IITS. UDL Tip is a weekly series highlighting instructional technologies that align with the UDL guidelines, with a focus on easy-to-implement tools.

Week 4: UDL Tip of the week: Adding closed captions using YouTube


Providing alternative representations such as multimedia materials other than text for clarity and comprehensibility is a principle of UDL. Our students appreciate the use of visual materials. However, such visual representations are not equally accessible to all learners. If you use videos in your course, closed captions are essential for the deaf or hard of hearing. The benefits of closed captions go beyond access for learners with disabilities. Non-native speakers of English may appreciate captions too.

If you are looking for a video to use in your class, you can filter YouTube for videos with closed captions.

You can also use YouTube to add closed captions to your video.

You can read the instructions or watch this short (5m 16s) Lynda.com video “Use YouTube to add captions or subtitles to video.” (You need to login to Lynda with your Haverford email).

From the video, you will learn how to:

  1. Turn on/off closed captions.
  2. Generate captions automatically.
  3. Edit the automatically generated captions.

Haverford faculty, staff, and students already have access to a YouTube account via gmail.

If you want, you can set the video as unlisted and share its URL only with your students.

This UDL of the week series promotes Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL is a framework that is useful in designing curricula that meet the needs of all learners. The UDL framework takes a one-size-does-not-fit-all approach to the curricula and it includes flexibility & alternatives and reduces barriers for all students to become expert learners. You can read about UDL Principles and UDL Guidelines by CAST, an organization that works to expand learning opportunities to all individuals using UDL.


There are a lot of ways to implement UDL without any technology. We hope that other departments will join and share the UDL tips from the area of the expertise.

Week 1 Tip: Explain Everything (Interactive whiteboard tool)
Week 2 Tip: VoiceThread (Asynchronous online presentation tool)
Week 3 Tip: TodaysMeet (backchannel tool)

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