Caption This! Best Practices for Live Captioning Presentations

Caption This! Best Practices for Live Captioning Presentations

Spring 2021
Michele Cooke
Area of Study

Why should I caption my presentations?

Did you know that 80% of caption users are not deaf or hard-of-hearing? Many of our students who are English-as-an-additional-language speakers or who experience auditory processing issues may comprehend presentations better if they are captioned. In addition, captioning presentations is helpful when the environment hinders what students can hear, thereby reducing listening fatigue. Overall, captions increase the accessibility of presentations and as a result improve students’ sense of inclusion. Many people hesitate to caption presentations because they don't know how to use the tools or believe that the resulting captions will be inadequate. In reality, captioning can be quite easy to set-up, and help a variety of students.

Celia Child, Bryn Mawr College

How can I effectively caption my presentations?

A 2020 study conducted by Michele Cooke, Professor in Geosciences, and Celia Child, student at Bryn Mawr College, shows that the artificial intelligence (AI)–based auto-captioning provided by Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides provide high accuracy even for jargon-rich content or speakers with various English accents.


Their evidence supports five best practices and key takeaways:

  • Implement AI-based auto-captioning directly within presentation software.
  • Use an external microphone.
  • Speak deliberately and clearly.
  • Practice with the presentation software beforehand and add to text of the slides words that are typically missed with your accent.
  • Always accommodate requests for human captionists.



In this eight-minute video, Michele Cooke and Celia Child provide some information about their study and demonstrate best practices for using auto-captioning tools.

Read their article for a more in-depth look at their study.

For technical assistance with captioning and making transcripts of your presentations, contact IDEAS at

To talk more with Michele about the study and captioning practices, email her at


Attached Files
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Caption This! Transcript.vtt 10.42 KB