Boston University works hard to provide equally effective communication and classrooms. We partner with faculty to make sure your materials are in accessible formats. Please keep this in mind when designing your syllabi and selecting media. Please see our Faculty Resource Guide and tipsheets below about closed captioning, accessible media, CART, American Sign Language/English Interpreters.

Requests for services by Faculty or Staff

To request CART provider services please email: dhhods@bu.edu

To request ASL Interpreter services please email aslods@bu.edu

Please include:

What is the event?

What is the event for?

How many deaf consumers will be present?

Dates and beginning and end time?

Where is the meeting or event?

Top Ten Things Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students Would Like Teachers to Do

My video does not have Closed Captions or Subtitles, can I still use it as a part of my course? See Closed Captioning Guidelines

There is a host of external to BU media that is online and accessible. WGBH, PBS and most programs that receive Federal or public funds have captioned, transcribed, and audio described media. Here are two reliable (certainly not an extensive list) online video channels that may have instructional value to you as a Faculty member:


Descriptive Media Captioning Program

These sites are two of dozens of online sites that create content that is accessible and that may be used for instruction. Do the following, and you’ll find accessible media that supports your Instructional goal:

1. Check for existing captions

Sometimes they are found in the settings tab. Look for headings such as subtitles, languages, captions, or special features to enable the captions.

2. If you found captions, check to make sure they are accurate

Sometimes captions do not match the audio content. If you are using a video that already has captions, please make sure that they are accurate!

3. Check for an alternative version of the media content

 Check a different website or the BU library for another version of the media that has captions

Digital Learning & Innovation may assist you to create practical and accessible content that is optimized for your instructional purposes.

4. You may also upload the video file that you own the rights to, to MyMedia . There are tutorials on ordering or placing captions on audio or video media on Instructional Technology’s MyMedia page.

After attempts have been made for steps 1-4, send the file to dhhods@bu.edu as soon as possible and we will send it out a request for transcription.

ASL Interpreters in the Classroom

ASL interpreters facilitate communication between ASL and English. The Deaf community is comprised of members with a variety of linguistic and cultural backgrounds. In educational settings, a team of interpreters is often utilized.

Helpful Strategies for Working With ASL Interpreters in the Classroom

Meet with the interpreter and share course materials and teaching aids (course syllabus, handouts, readings, and vocabulary lists).

Speak at a natural or reasonable pace.

Speak in the first-person. When speaking to the D/deaf or Hard-of-Hearing student, look directly at them and not at the interpreter. Avoid using third-person statements such as “ask her” or “tell him”.

Build in time for PowerPoint presentations. After introducing the slide, allow time for the student to focus on the screen before conveying additional information.

Refrain from talking during written classwork.

Ask all students to raise their hands and be recognized before speaking. This allows the interpreter to finish interpreting the information, so that the D/deaf or Hard-of-Hearing student may participate in the discussion.

Working with Sign Language Interpreters in the Classroom Tipsheet

CART Services in the Classroom

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is a speech-to-text service that displays a complete transcription of all spoken words and environmental sounds to communicate a message. This may be through an onsite CART provider who comes into the classroom, or through a remote service. The remote service is done via Skype for Business.

Helpful Strategies for Working With CART Providers in the Classroom

Meet with the CART reporter and share course materials and teaching aids (course syllabus, handouts, readings, and vocabulary lists) that will be useful for the CART reporter to use to prepare for class. The specialized vocabulary for the class will be entered into the reporter’s dictionary, which will help to maintain a high translation rate. This is advantageous for both the reporter and the student(s).

Permit the CART reporter to sit in a location that makes hearing you and the students in the class as easy as possible. Please note that it may be necessary to wear a microphone to ensure the clarity of the audio for the CART provider, the student will be responsible for providing you with one if necessary.

Since the translation and text display are usually one to four seconds behind the speaker, it may take the student who is deaf or hard of hearing a few seconds longer to respond. Try to limit the class discussion to one person speaking at a time, so that all students have the opportunity to participate.

Restate or summarize students’ comments if they are hard to hear, or somewhat disorganized. The CART reporter knows they must follow the intent of the speaker at all times. The reporter will render as near a verbatim translation as possible, always conveying the content and spirit of the speaker. Sometimes, a new term is introduced that will not translate properly. The reporter may then use a substitute language which is computer-translatable so that the term can be understood by the student.

Requesting Services for Events


To request services for graduation, please fill out the disability request form found at bu.edu/commencement

Hosting a BU event

Please make sure to place the following language or a version thereof on your promotional materials and media:

“For questions about physical accessibility or to request a communication-related accommodation ( e.g. ASL Interpreters, Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART); assistive listening devices; hearing or induction loops), please contact (insert event host information here). Please submit requests for accommodations as soon as possible, ideally no later than 10 business days prior to the event.”

You do not need to provide services unless a formal request is placed. Once a consumer has placed their request, contact our office and we will get the process started. For ASL Interpreter requests, please email ASLODS@bu.edu, for CART requests, please email DHHODS@bu.edu with the following information:

  • What is the event?
  • What is the event for?
  • How many deaf consumers will be present?
  • When, dates and time?
  • Where is the meeting or event?

Request an Interpreter for a BU event

Contact the host of the event! If you are having trouble finding the host, let us know, we would be happy to help. If the event has an associated fee, we may not be able to cover the cost.