Previous ProposalReturn to ScheduleNext Proposal

Legal Aspects of Captioning for Higher Ed

| Proposal No: 1934

Bios & Handouts


  • Gaeir Dietrich, Access Specialist, Consultant

Disability Area:          

Topic Area:                

Length of Session (in hours): 1-hrFormat: Lecture Expertise Level: All Levels Type of session: Not provided

Summary of Session

The presenters will discuss college’s legal responsibilities for providing captioning under both federal and state law. We will consider issues of accuracy and copyright, and we will provide guidelines on when you need to caption and when you don’t.


Campuses have many questions about when and how to caption. This session will clear away the confusion and leave participants with clear guidelines on when captioning is absolutely required under the law and when it is not required. We will sort through the confusion that exists around the different types of captioning (open vs. closed) and subtitles (foreign language translations vs. subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing). The role of copyright will also be considered. And we will answer that age-old question, “If there’s no deaf student in the class do I still need to caption?”


  1. (1) Increase understanding of when state and federal law require captioning and when they do not
  2. (2) Recognize when synchronized captions are required and when a transcript is sufficient
  3. (3) Become aware of the difference between true captions and “searchable video.”

Speaker Bio(s)

Gaeir Dietrich

Gaeir Dietrich is a nationally recognized expert in the field of alternate media, assistive technology, and Section 508 compliance. Gaeir has served on advisory boards for the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), Bookshare, the DIAGRAM Center, the Alternate Text Production Center (ATPC), and the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center. In 2010-2011, she served as the chair for the federal Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education.