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, or have other difficulties with auditory processing, or for non-native English speakers.
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 - this includes written content on slides and any subtitles you might choose to directly include when producing your video. 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 and can negatively impact their overall learning experience, which may then be reflected in reviews.
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, please upload video and audio transcripts 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 pink "Edit video" button is a section titled Video subtitles file. Click on Add video subtitles file on the right-hand side of the screen.
Click on Choose file to add the VTT file from your storage, select the language and click the pink Create video subtitles file button. You can also choose to automatically show them in a specific language, which can be useful for courses where audio is in non-English languages.
For audio transcripts
Audio transcripts must be in PDF format.
Go to the relevant step page. Below the "Edit audio" button is a section titled Related files. Click on Add a related file on the right-hand side of the screen.
Give the document a clear and descriptive title. Consider including the step title and number, and avoid just calling it "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.