Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) provides accommodations to eligible students that include: sign language interpreters, transcription services, cued speech transliterators, and assistive listening devices (on loan). In addition, DHHS assists departments across campus and campus affiliates in scheduling qualified service providers for their events and programs.

Requesting a Service Provider

DHHS is able to schedule the following types of providers:

Sign Language Interpreters
A trained professional who uses sign language to facilitate communication through interpretation and/or transliteration

They are expected to “voice” what is signed and sign auditory messages. Interpreters are bound by the Code of Conduct through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID).

Transcribers
A trained professional who provides speech to text services in real-time through specialized software

The real-time transcript can be viewed through a web browser on a reader device such as a laptop or tablet. Most DHHS transcribers use TypeWell (TW); TW transcribers are bound by the TypeWell’s Transcribers Code of Ethics.

Cued Speech Transliterators
A trained professional who uses a visual mode of communication that uses hand shapes and placements in combination with the mouth movements of speech to facilitate communication

Requesting Captioning

Video Captioning

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) provides accessible media services (post-production captioning and transcription) to students and departments on campus.

In accordance with federal law, all instructors are required to make all classroom materials available to students with disabilities at the same time that it is made available to all other students.

Important Information

  • For ADS students with a captioning accommodation, the cost of creating accessible media for course-related materials shown in the classroom or posted on ELMS is covered by ADS
  • For rates for accessible media services not covered by ADS, contact DHHS
  • DHHS processes materials for ADS students first and then we will work on non-ADS student material
  • Materials are completed on a first come, first serve basis; the earlier requests are submitted, the faster the turnaround
If you have any questions, please contact the Manager of DHHS, Cassandra Lytle at dhhs@umd.edu or (301) 314-7209

For information about Live Captioning and Remote Transcription Services, including for Webex or Zoom Meetings

Please refer to this article from DIT that discusses how DHHS can assist and options for contracting with a third party independently.

Captioning Services


Captioning Services for ADS Students

After you have registered for classes:

  • Send your finalized schedule to DHHS and DHHS will contact your instructors about captioning needs
  • If students do not send their schedules to DHHS, the assumption will be that captioning is not needed for any classes that semester
  • Before the start of the semester, share your accommodation letter with your instructors
  • During the private meeting with your instructors to discuss how your accommodations will be implemented, explain your accommodation for video captioning.
  • Ask your instructor if they will be utilizing any videos or podcasts during the semester or have plans to record their lecture via Panapto.

If your instructor is using videos during the semester:

  • Inform them that DHHS can assist with any captioning or transcription needs
  • Notify DHHS via email dhhs@umd.edu which of your courses will be using some type of media that may require captioning or transcription services

If your instructor is not using videos during the semester:

Thank them and ask them to contact you if that changes so you can be sure the videos are captioned.

Captioning Services for Faculty, TAs, and Staff

In accordance with federal law, all instructors (as agents of the University) are required to make all classroom materials available to students with disabilities at the same time that it is made available to all other students.

  • All videos and/or clips that you plan to show during the semester must be checked by you for closed captioning
  • YouTube’s automatic captions do not meet ADA requirements and are not considered accessible media

In the event that any videos (to be viewed in class or assigned outside of class) are scheduled to be shown, please follow these instructions.

Check to ensure your videos are captioned.
A YouTube video may not have captions (or the captions may not be accessible), however, a captioned version of the same video may exist elsewhere (i.e. the original website where the video first appeared, Vimeo, etc.). Please check other sources/websites to see if a captioned version is available


If your video is not captioned, select one of the following options

Video Clips (YouTube and other links) MP4s (including class recordings) DVDs or Streamed Media
Work with DHHS Work with DIT Work with Library Media Services
Submit a completed Caption Request Form to DHHS Submit a Caption Request form to DIT Contact Library Media Services to see if UMD already owns a captioned version of the video.

If Hornbake does not already own the video, request that the accessible version be purchased.

1. Requesting Captioned Media through DHHS

DHHS handles caption requests for video links (i.e. YouTube videos*, video clips on websites, etc.).

Please use the following form to submit a captioning request through DHHS.

In order to process caption requests quickly and efficiently:

  • Instructors should review their captioning needs as soon as they are made aware of the need to create accessible media
  • Caption requests should be submitted with as much advance notice possible to ensure accessible media is completed by the time it’s needed in class

The current turnaround time to complete caption requests is approximately five business days. Caption requests are processed on a first come, first serve basis and should be submitted to DHHS as soon as possible.

If a captioned video is needed before the five business day turnaround, please contact Cassandra Lytle at dhhs@umd.edu or (301) 314-7209 to discuss available options.

Captioned media is returned as an MP4 file through UMD Box.

Note about YouTube Videos:
  • If you have videos that are hosted on your own YouTube channel, DHHS can connect you with a vendor who can create and upload captions directly to your account. Please contact DHHS for additional information about this option
  • If you have MP4s not yet uploaded to YouTube, requesting captions through DIT is much faster than connecting your YouTube account with an outside vendor as mentioned above

2. Requesting Captioned Media through DIT

DIT handles caption requests for all MP4 files, including Panopto class recordings. In order for DIT to caption your videos:

  1. Upload your videos (class recordings and/or MP4s) to the Panopto Recordings folder on Canvas
  2. Complete the DIT Caption Request Form

The Caption Request Form can be accessed here: Request Professional Captioning for Panopto Videos. Please note:

  • The link to the caption form is at the top of the article
  • Sign in through CAS with your UMD credentials to access the form
  • If you have multiple recordings ready to be captioned, you can include up to 20 files on a single request form
  • If you are recording as you go (i.e. weekly class lectures), a new request form needs to be submitted to DIT for each video/recording that is uploaded to the Panopto Recordings folder

For additional questions, please contact DIT at itaccessibility@umd.edu.

3. Requesting Captioned Media through Library Media Services

Library Media Services (formerly Hornbake Library) handles caption requests for DVDs and streaming videos.

To request captioned videos for streaming on your ELMS course site:

  1. Complete ELMS Course Reserves Streaming Request Form
  2. At the bottom of the form, in the “Comments or Special Instructions” box, please indicate that the video requires closed captions

Note: The Library Streaming Reserves module must be enabled in your ELMS course site before submitting a request. If you have questions, please refer to Library Media Services’ tutorial.

For additional questions, please contact Library Media Services at askmckres@umd.edu.

Captioning Services for Campus Departments
(Not ADS Related)

For a fee, DHHS is able to caption videos for campus departments that require accessible media.

To discuss your captioning needs and for additional information, including current rates and turnaround times, please contact Cassandra Lytle at dhhs@umd.edu or (301) 314-7209.

Captioning Services for the Public
(Not Affiliated with UMD)

For a fee, DHHS is able to caption videos for the general public.

To discuss your captioning needs and for additional information, including current rates and turnaround times, please contact Cassandra Lytle at dhhs@umd.edu or (301) 314-7209.

DHHS Forms

All service provider request forms should be submitted at least two weeks in advance. Send requests to dhhs@umd.edu.

Cancellations for all billable service requests must be made three full business days in advance of the event to avoid charges. Cancellations for conferences and multi-date events must be submitted five full business days in advance to avoid being charged in full.

Service provider requests are billed at a 2 hour minimum per provider. However, if an agency is employed to cover the assignment, a 3 hour minimum may apply. Typically 1-2 service providers are assigned to each request. The number of service providers depends on the length and content of the assignment and will be determined by the DHHS Manager.

Departments and Campus affiliates with questions related to the cost for DHHS services should contact DHHS for current cost estimates at dhhs@umd.edu or (301) 314-7209 or review our UMDGuidelines for DHHS Fees and Services   (pdf) .

Assistive Listening Devices

Students registered with ADS who are eligible for an assistive listening device (ALD) can borrow an ALD for the current semester from DHHS at no cost. ALDs have two components; a receiver (which attached to the student’s hearing aid) and a microphone. Students must sign a release form before checking out the equipment. They are expected to return the equipment at the end of the semester in the same condition as when checked out. If the equipment is lost or damaged, the student’s University account will be charged the replacement cost of the device.

Assistive listening devices work best when the instructor wears the microphone and repeats questions or comments made by other students during the lecture. The microphone will only amplify for the student wearing the receiver and does not record anything that is said during the class lecture.

Students who do not use a hearing aid may need to use headphones with the receiver when using an ALD. This may also be the case for students who have a cochlear implant or a hearing aid system that is not compatible with the ALD. Students using headphones with the ALD should ensure to inform their professors of the purpose of the headphones.

Residence Hall Accommodations

Students needing housing accommodations, such as a visual fire alarm, should contact the Department of Resident Life Assignments Office at reslife@umd.edu. Students who need guidance or if Resident Life requires documentation, please contact DHHS for assistance.

Information for Instructors

Service Providers in the Classroom

Service providers are sign language interpreters, TypeWell transcribers, or Cued Speech transliterators. Typically interpreters are assigned in teams and transcribers are solo unless the class is over 75 minutes.

Service providers are assigned only to facilitate communication and should not be expected to participate in the class or to offer any comments or opinions regarding class content.

The service provider(s) will introduce themselves during the first week of the semester and may ask for additional materials (i.e. PowerPoint slides, syllabus) to help them with course specific terms or other class related information. This information is needed to assist them in providing the student access to the course material. A best practice is to add the service provider(s) to your ELMS course as an observer.

Please review the tipsheets for more information. Feel free to contact DHHS at (301) 314-7209 or dhhs@umd.edu, with any questions.

Media in the classroom or on ELMS

Please ensure that any media you plan to use in the classroom or on the course website is captioned. This includes movies, films, videos, embedded video clips in websites or PowerPoint presentations, and YouTube clips. If you have any captioning needs, please contact the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Manager, dhhs@umd.edu, as soon as possible to submit your request. The captioning process takes time so it is important that we get advanced notice of at least 3-5 days, whenever possible.

Please Note: Automatic YouTube captions DO NOT provide sufficient access to the material as they do not meet ADA requirements. If you are unsure if the captions provided are acceptable, send DHHS the link/file and we will review it to determine if it meets accessibility standards.

Recommendations to ensure accessible media in the classroom:

  • Locate material that is already captioned and accessible.
    • Ted Talks are a great resource; all of the videos are captioned.
  • Ask students who plan to use media in presentations to find captioned material or at a minimum to create and provide a transcript of the audio portion of the media.
    • DHHS is available to assist students with their transcription and captioning needs as well for class presentations.

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)

Some students have an accommodation to use an assistive listening device (ALDs).

ALDs have two components; a receiver and a microphone. Assistive listening devices work best when the instructor wears the microphone and repeats questions or comments made by other students during the lecture. The microphone will only amplify for the student wearing the receiver and does not record anything that is said during the class lecture.

Students may choose to have the receiver provide amplification through their hearing aids, cochlear implant, or through headphones.

DHHS Student Policies and Procedures