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Audio Descriptions

In the Classroom

In a live or recorded lecture, you should include important elements from your lecture slides and other media (e.g. drawings on the board) in your oral presentation that would not normally have been mentioned.

Non-verbal content require audio descriptions in order to aid those who cannot see the media (e.g. video content, slide shows). Audio descriptions are ideally an additional audio track that can be turned on and off for users who need the assistance. 

This type of audio track works in combination with the main audio track. When people are talking, no description can be provide and vice versa. It sounds much like someone reading a book, going between narration and dialogue / sound effects.

When developing the script for your audio description, you must consider timing, since your explanation will be in competition with oral content:

  • keep it short and sweet when you don't have a long space to talk
  • don't try to describe anything if no audible space is available
  • describe important actions, expressions and behaviors that cannot already be understood audibly
  • describe important parts of the scene or environment that provide atmosphere and/or set up interaction in the storyline

A good example of the last tip is a scene where someone lights up a cigarette and, a little while later, someone else tells that individual to put out the cigarette. Without the set up, you didn't know who was smoking or why someone was talking about a cigarette. These actions often explain behavior and personality needed to tell the story.

The video players Tarleton uses (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo) do not currently allow a second audio track for audio descriptions. A second option is creating an audio transcription that combines the visual descriptions. Timing is no longer a challenge, since a transcript is just the text. It is not synchronized with the visuals. This is a supplemental document to the required closed captioning for videos.

References

Guides and How-To's

Guidelines

Simulations