Caption Ed was first created aiming to help students with disabilities more easily interpret audio content, however, with subsequent updates, the tool’s functionalities have been extended into the realm of notetaking and the Learning Enhancement and Development (LEaD) team is currently considering adding it to its range of assistive technologies.
You will find that setting up an account with Caption Ed is very easy; once you receive your student account, simply search “Caption Ed” on Google and select “Student Sign Up”, search for City, University of London, and add your student details. If you find any problems during the signing-up process, you can also sign up for a personal account and try it out for free.
Once you signed up and created an account you will have access to the dashboard and the library in the online application. However, to start recording, you will need to download the desktop version, which is very straightforward and self-indicative, following the steps on the website. Once you press record, the software will start captioning everything, using both your computer audio and microphone, depending on your preferences. The Caption.Ed app will follow you everywhere, so it is easy to switch between apps whilst continuing to caption everything. That means you can caption lectures, meetings, online videos, conversations, and much more. You can also highlight and write notes, and these will be time-stamped and linked back to the respective caption to which you made the note which means this app makes it easy to keep up with dynamic conversations and check back on content.
Reflections – What works well
From start to finish, the app has a very simplistic and minimalistic, easy-to-use, and intuitive interface. There is also a knowledge section where you can read up more on all the functionalities CaptionEd has to offer to help you make the most out of the tool. This includes a number of useful guides and walkthroughs on how to use the different features within CaptionEd. New users logging in for the first time will also be greeted by a step-by-step product tour that will guide you through downloading the desktop application and getting started within creating your first session and reviewing it back through the notes editor.
A good article you might want to check out as you get used to the tool is “Getting Started with Caption Ed Captioning”. Additionally, captions can be manually edited to ensure accuracy and add information or student input. Although several apps such as Echo, Zoom, and MS Teams already provide a captioning functionality, Caption Ed is unique in the fact it tracks whatever you do on your computer and gathers all your transcripts in a single library. Additionally, the time-stamped note-taking functionalities bring additional learning opportunities. Even more, compared to other automatic captioning tools, Caption Ed uses AI to improve the accuracy of its transcripts which means these are generally more accurate and record acronyms and syntaxes otherwise not picked up on by other software which makes it especially useful for academic purposes.
Reflections – What is a bit trickier
Despite all the functionalities Caption Ed has on offer and the support it provides to students, it is worth noting that there are a few things to watch out for. The software doesn’t always pick up the words using the microphone if the volume is too low, there is background noise or chatter. For the most accurate transcript, you should ensure that the audio quality is as high as possible, otherwise, there will be words and parts missed leaving blanks in the transcript. Occasionally, the software can be a bit slow to load from the moment when you press record, especially if your computer is of an older generation or overwhelmed with several memory-intensive applications, so you might want to consider that when preparing to record. Another issue you might want to consider is that Caption Ed cannot currently identify different speakers, however, you can set these manually if it is relevant for the scope of your use.
From a functional standpoint, it is worth noting that Caption Ed does not currently allow you to merge transcripts if you use multiple resources for a single week’s lecture or allow you to use folders within the library to organize transcripts into modules and years. Nonetheless, Caption Ed does not currently have integrated spell or grammar checking like Word does and does not use autocorrect, however, it does work with the Grammarly Chrome extension.
Overall use for study
All in all, Caption Ed can be a very powerful assistive technology tool for students with disabilities to aid in their learning, but it also brings subsequent uses with its note-taking functionalities which make it a great tool for all students too. Furthermore, the app allows you to upload PDFs to use within the system simultaneously with other content being displayed.
Interested in Caption Ed?
Find out more about Caption Ed at City University, we have accounts available for staff and students.