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Live Captioning for Online Events

The ADA Coordinator’s Office may be able to provide central support for events that are unforeseeably moved online, that are not otherwise supported by existing revenue, and that are central to the ongoing mission of the university. 

Requests for this support can be addressed to the Digital Accessibility Center.

The University requires all affiliated online events to be live captioned. 

Effective Autumn 2021, automated captioning services provided by programs such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams may be utilized without filing an exception EXCEPT in the following circumstances:

  • Events that are expected to have more than 200 participants.
  • Events that communicate critical legal, financial, or medical information.
  • Events that communicate timely information or that require immediate follow-up action by participants.
  • Events whose participants are known to require captions or that are focused on disability-related topics.

Events using an automated captioning system MUST publish an accommodation statement (example below) providing attendees with contact information to request additional captioning or other accommodations. 

This statement must be communicated to participants, clearly and in an accessible manner, at least 4 weeks prior to the event.

Units using automated captioning for events are REQUIRED to fund any captioning request they receive. 

If units wish to have central support this must be approved by the ADA Coordinator’s Office in advance of the event being marketed.

Events that DO NOT meet the above requirements still require either proactive live captioning or an accommodation-based exception.


Accommodation Statement

Please include the following statement on all event communications, forms, etc.:

  • "This event will be presented with automated closed captions. If you require an accommodation such as live captioning to participate in this event, please contact [event organizer name and email]. Requests made two weeks before the event will generally allow us to provide seamless access, but the University will make every effort to meet requests made after this date."


Accommodation Time Frame

A time frame of 2 weeks (from the first advertisement) is usually sufficient to allow users to request captioning for an event. 

This is not to be confused by the 2 weeks given in the accommodation statement. That refers to the minimum time before an event to secure captioning.

In total, this means you should begin advertising your event 4 weeks before its scheduled date.


Filing an Exception

A formal exception can be filed via the ADA Office's Exception Tracker.

Because the form was originally designed for software exception requests, and not events, it can be confusing. 

We've created an example for a typical webinar below you can follow to create your exception.

Example Exception: Brutus Buckeye Webinar

  • Name of Digital Information or Service:

    • Brutus Buckeye Webinar
  • Request Date:

    • 2/1/2021, 12:00:00 PM
  • Requested End Date of Exception:

    • 2/5/2021, 2:00:00 PM
  • First Name:

    • Brutus
  • Last Name:

    • Buckeye
  • Email:

Additional Approvers are your choice, but are not required.

  • What is the URL or location of the digital information or service?

  • What University unit is responsible for the digital information or service? 

    • Department of Brutus Buckeye
  • Provide the circumstances as to why the requesting unit is seeking this exception (Check all that apply): 

    • The digital information or digital service is used by a limited audience, when the audience is known, and whose needs can be accounted for in advance.
      • Note: only check that option.
  • What is the purpose/business need for the product or service? 

    • Two webinars featuring Brutus Buckeye talking about his time at the University on 2/1 at 12:00 PM and 2/5 at 12:00 PM for about two hours each.
    • This outreach program aims to inform prospective students about what they can expect as majors in the Department of Brutus Buckeye.
    • Everything from classwork to self-care will be addressed as part of our annual marketing outreach campaign.
  • What University or external populations will be using the product or service? 

    • The program is being targeted at prospective students of the Department of Brutus Buckeye.
    • This audience consists of both junior and senior high schoolers as well as returning or new adult students.
    • We are expecting about 100 students at each event.
  • If students are a potential audience of the digital information or digital service, is their use strictly related to employment with the university? 

    • If not, does their use of this digital information or service relate to their access to educational or administrative functions that impact their full participation in a campus program, service, or activity? 

      • Students are not a potential audience.
        • Note: this will depend on your event.
  • Did product evaluations during the selection process explore the existence of a more accessible alternative? 

    • N/A.
      • Note: this is always N/A.
  • What are the barriers to access? 

    • Proactive live captioning of the event will not be provided.
    •  This will present access barriers to participants who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Individual(s) responsible for oversight and administration of the EEAAP. 

    • buckeye.1, buckeye.2
      • Note: it is always recommended to have two.
  • What are the accommodations that will be in place? 

    • Live captioning will be provided if requested by an event participant.
    • We have contacted _____, a vendor in the University's RFP for captioning, to obtain a quote for their services and let them know we may need them on the date of the event.
    • If captioning is unable to be arranged in a timely manner (due to being notified too late), an equal opportunity to participate will be arranged with the user.
    • This may include: a fully captioned recording of the webinar, arranged time to ask questions with the panelist, scheduling live captioning for the 2/5 session if the user originally wanted to attend the 2/1 session.
  • What is the plan for communicating the existence of the accommodation and for relaying information between involved parties? 

    • All event communication will have the following accommodation statement:
      • "If you require an accommodation such as live captioning to participate in this event, please contact Brutus Buckeye at buckeye.1@osu.edu."
      • "Requests made two weeks before the event will generally allow us to provide seamless access, but the University will make every effort to meet requests made after this date."
  • What is the timeline for implementing the plan? 

    • The initial announcement email will be sent no later than 4 weeks prior on 1/11/2021.
    • This will allow a 2 week period for users to request accommodation.

All entries under this section should be N/A. This was originally intended for software and is not relevant to events.

More Information

Additional information on the live captioning policy, including a detailed FAQ is available on the Digital Accessibility Center website

If you need to arrange captioning with one of the Universities RFP vendors, please check out the hiring guide.

Hire a Captioner