Accessible PDF text transcripts are required for any audio used in FutureLearn courses.
Subtitles are required for all video content including trailers. Video transcripts are recommended for all videos.
Every learner benefits from subtitles and transcripts.
- It’s much quicker to read than listen or watch – learners can get to information faster but can also read at their own pace.
- Learners can search the text of the subtitles, you can’t search the video.
- Learners need strong connection/ bandwidth to play a video. If they have the transcript, they’re not reliant on a good connection.
- Learners can watch videos on-the-go with the sound off and still follow along with subtitles
Most importantly subtitles and transcripts also ensure that all content is accessible to learners who are deaf, hard of hearing, for whom English is an additional language, or have other disabilities.
Subtitles appear in the lower third of the screen. When planning and producing video content ensure that important visual content is not going to be covered by where the subtitles will appear. Either keep the lower third section of your screen clear for subtitles or do not include subtitles for that specific section where possible.
Always double-check video subtitles for accuracy. The Ai used within subtitle software has come a long way, but accents, speed of conversation, and background noise can lead to mistakes. This is distracting for learners.
The FutureLearn platform requires subtitles in VTT format to incorporate them into the video on the video step. Video subtitles come in the form of a VTT file. The platform then uses the VTT to generate an automatic transcript for learners to see by clicking ‘View Transcript’ under the video player on the video step.
FutureLearn works with a transcription company called 3Play, which offers discounted subtitling services. You can then download the VTT file to create your transcripts.
FutureLearn’s branded font is Europa. To keep transcripts consistent with the FutureLearn platform you can download the Europa font as part of the FutureLearn branded graphics folder If you cannot use Europa, Arial will also provide a clear accessible font.
We recommend 14pt in caps for the title, then 12pt with 1.5 spacing for the body text. The title of each transcript should be the Course title followed by the Step title (in caps).
We recommend using our transcript template to create consistent transcripts -
If you decide to create the video transcript yourself using the video script and not software, follow these principles.
- Include identifying information (at top): Video Title, University Partner, Date.
- Use headings and subheadings to divide information into logical groups.
- Split text into short paragraphs for better online reading.
- For lists of information, use bulleted lists.
- Indicate who is speaking. The first time someone speaks, identify the person by Full Name and Title/Type of Person. When that person speaks thereafter, identify them by Full Name or an Abbreviated Name. Example: First time: “John Johnson, Ohlone College student transferring to UC Berkeley”; then: “John”.
- Describe the meaning of simple non-decorative images, graphs, charts.
- Describe activities in video, especially if important for transitioning from section to section (such as: driving to the airport).
- Save the file as a PDF. Follow these guidelines to ensure the PDF is accessible.
If you are creating audio transcripts yourself. Follow these guidelines:
- Number the pages.
- Include the course name and organisation name at the top.
- Clear titles and names of the speaker. Format text to avoid long paragraphs.
- If possible include some timestamps. Not every sentence is required but enough that a hearing-impaired learner could navigate through the audio easily.
- Ensure it is clear which line of dialogue relates to which speaker and format the transcript to make it as easy to read as possible
To ensure accessibility, video and audio transcripts should be uploaded as pdf files in the Related Files section of the relevant step on the FutureLearn platform. Follow these guidelines to ensure the PDF is accessible.
Uploading subtitles and transcripts to Course Creator
For video transcripts:
Go to the relevant step. Below the button ‘edit video’ is a section ‘video subtitles file’. Select ‘Add video transcript file’ on the right-hand side of the screen. Choose the VTT file from your records, select the language and click the pink button create video subtitles file’.
For audio transcripts:
Go to the relevant step page. Below the button ‘edit audio’ is a section ‘ Related files’. select ‘Add a related file’ on the right-hand side of the screen.
Give the document a clear and descriptive title. Avoid ‘English Transcript’. Choose the file from your own records and click ‘create related file’.
Terminology on this page that you aren’t familiar with? Check out our glossary.