University of Wisconsin Pioneering the Accessibility Frontier with Web Captioning

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University Of Wisconsin awards state-wide contract for captioning services to enhance online educational content; becomes second university in the country to promote universal web captioning.

As the latest development in a national trend toward Web accessibility, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has signed a contract with 3Play Media for media captioning and transcription services in conjunction with delivery of video to the Web and mobile environments. The entire University of Wisconsin System is able to purchase off of this contract. The initiative makes the UW System the second statewide university system in the country, after the University of California, to endorse the use of transcripts and captions for web media.

Historically, UW-Madison has been at the forefront of web accessibility. It was the first university to adopt a web accessibility policy, based on Section 508 standards that make information accessible to individuals with disabilities. In 2001, the Trace Research and Development Center funded the development of MAGpie, the widely used captioning tool. UW's latest initiative comes on the heels of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act awaiting the President’s signature which mandates closed captions for certain types of web video.

"Captioning benefits are often associated with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, but research dating back to the 80’s concluded that captions also improve reading and listening comprehension, word recognition, and decoding skills," said Alice Anderson, the University of Wisconsin's Technology Accessibility Program Coordinator.

In addition to closed captions, 3Play Media will be providing its interactive transcript tools that allow users to quickly search and navigate a transcript, as well as translate it into 50+ languages. Users can even clip and share sections of a video simply by highlighting the text.

"The search capabilities of captioning make it invaluable," said Anderson. "What faculty, staff or student wants to scroll through hours of lectures to find the answer to their question?"

Josh Miller, 3Play Media’s Co-Founder said “We’re thrilled to be working with such a progressive institution to advance accessibility. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate how transcription and captioning not only make web video accessible, but also provide a richer experience for all users.”

About the University of Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin System is one of the largest universities in the country, serving more than 178,000 students and employing more than 32,000 faculty and staff. It is comprised of 13 universities, 13 colleges, and statewide UW-Extension programs.

About 3Play Media
3Play Media is a leading provider of time-synchronized transcription & captioning services and interactive transcripts. Its customers include universities, corporations and web companies. 3Play Media was founded in 2007 by four MIT graduate students and is headquartered in Cambridge, MA. For more information, visit

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