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Closed Caption Pilot Report (2016/17) – Enhancing the Student Experience

29 November 2017 Posted in: Articles Tagged: , , , By: Alysa Bramble


What is closed caption?

Closed caption (also referred to as ‘subtitles’) is text that is provided for an audience to read, of the audio of a speaker, usually displayed on a screen or television. This is particularly useful for people who may not be able to hear the speaker on television, video or in the room they’re in.

The purpose of the closed caption pilot at Queen Mary University of London, carried out in 2016/17, was to evaluate the prospect of providing closed captions as part of a lecture, in order to enhance the learning experience especially for those with disabilities.


In 2014 the Head of Disability and Dyslexia Service approached the E-Learning Unit as a need was identified to offer additional support for students with disabilities. Due to impending funding cuts for personal note takers, attention turned to available technologies that might be able to assist students.

It was felt that the ability to (optionally) view live subtitles during a lecture and/or to review a post lecture transcript alongside a recording could be invaluable for students with disabilities. There would also be added benefit for all students, especially for those whose first language is not English to be able to follow along by reading the text, and also in the bigger lecture theatres, closed captions would be useful where it might be difficult to hear at the back of the room.


The primary objectives of the closed caption pilot were to:

  1. Consider the feasibility and value of offering a closed caption service at Queen Mary University of London, especially for those with disabilities.
  2. Determine the costs and support required for this service
  3. Trial various closed caption options and make recommendations

The E-Learning unit sought funding from the Westfield Bid Fund in order to carry out the pilot.


The full report, including outcomes and recommendations following the pilot, is available to download here: Closed Caption Pilot Report

A poster for the Teacher and Learning Conference 2018 is available here: Closed caption pilot poster for Teaching and Learning conference

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