Sometimes you just cannot afford procrastination. We all get that unmotivated, lazy feeling every once in a while, unable to bring ourselves to start or complete our work.
But picture this:
It is 11 o’clock at night and you finally muster up some motivation to start your homework because assignments are like 25% of your grade and you would like an A. So, you reread the assignment directions. Hmm…I just have to listen to a podcast. Super easy!
Not so fast.
I click on the link, and it takes me to some random website. I click “Play” on the podcast. A man begins speaking, and, typical deaf me, I cannot understand him.
So I just do what I always do. I click on the…wait…where is the button for the captions?!
I look along the lower dashboard of the video, and notice that there is only a button for “Settings” to fix the quality of the video. I check to see if there’s a button for subtitles or a transcript somewhere.
Maybe google will come to the rescue?
Yup, nope. Nothing there either.
Unfortunately, this is just one of the many typical instances of what happens to me and many other deaf students, who probably should not be procrastinating.
You may be wondering what I did after not finding those captions? Well, I can tell you I certainly did not listen to that podcast. What a waste it would have been listening to an hour of gibberish! The only thing I really could do was research the podcast speaker, and rely on the small pieces of information I found. As a result of the podcast’s inaccessibility, I missed out on most of the class discussion the next day, but fortunately, I found out that the podcast was optional. It sure would have been helpful if I had heard about it beforehand because it would have saved me from some stress! However, I’m bound to run into situations where I will not always get everything…it just happens.
One of the most frustrating things about being assigned a video or podcast to watch or listen to is the lack of accessibility offered to deaf or hard of hearing viewers. Closed captions should be a mandatory option for any medium that has audio, no matter how short it may be. Simply having the option of captions would increase viewership, and create a more inclusive experience for the audience. Those who aren’t fans of captions can easily opt out, while others, like myself, have the chance to access important information and be able to participate in class! Fortunately, some professors are kind enough to revise the assignment and choose a different, but closed-captioned, video. I truly appreciate those professors, and I personally believe that kindness and compassion for students are key to leading a successful course.