As reported by Provost Martin Schmidt in February 2020, MIT settled a lawsuit brought by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and several deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals alleging that MIT was violating two federal laws by failing to accurately caption all of the audio and video content posted publicly online by anyone associated with MIT. As part of the settlement, MIT has committed to provide captioning for the following content:
- Content created or developed by faculty or staff as part of their MIT work that is posted on MIT’s public webpages (within MIT.edu domain) or public third-party platforms (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, social media, etc.)
- Content created or developed by a Sponsored Student Group as part of the group’s organizational mission that is posted to MIT’s public webpages or on public third-party platforms.
- Events that are live-streamed publicly by Institute Events.
This affects content created by the Math Department, as well as related work by faculty, staff, and students/student groups.
The settlement requires that we take specific steps as summarized below. Please share this information with any individuals who help maintain your website, or MIT.edu-based YouTube, Vimeo, social media channels, etc. If your content is NOT on an MIT.edu-based site, we ask you to consider complying anyway, in the spirit of accessibility for all.
Each site owner—along with their supervising department, lab, center, or business unit—is responsible for ensuring that covered content is captioned.
- All MIT.edu websites must include the word “Accessibility” on the site so that it appears on every page, and that word should link to http://accessibility.mit.edu. This must be done by October 12, 2020. See the bottom of our Math Dept. page for an idea of how this should look.
- Publicly accessible video content on mit.edu sites must be properly captioned. Podcasts must come with a transcript.
- New Content: Content posted 60 or more days following the effective date (effective date is July 21, 2020) must be captioned upon posting.
- Existing Content:
- Content posted on or after January 1, 2019, but before September 19, 2020: Must be captioned (or removed from public view) as soon as practicable, but no later than one year from the effective date. In addition, individual videos and audio files must be captioned within seven business days of a request by an individual member of the public.
- Content posted prior to January 1, 2019: Must be captioned (or removed from public view) within seven business days of a request by an individual member of the public.
- Recordings of Live-Streamed Events: Must be captioned as soon as practicable, but no later than seven business days after posting.
- If you cannot make these changes before the deadline, you may choose to take down or put behind a paywall/password any audio/video. However, we highly encourage captioning and keeping these valuable resources public. Research has shown that captioning increases absorption/retention rates for everyone, not just the hearing-impaired.
- For a list of vendors who provide fee-based and free video captioning, see MIT Captioning and Accessibility’s Ways to Get Your Video Captioned.
- For more tips on captioning, visit:
- Division of Student Life Captions and Transcripts
- Video presentations/tutorials from MIT (Requires Touchstone).
- Accessibility.MIT.edu FAQ (Requires Touchstone).
- YouTube: Creating Subtitles and Closed Captions on Your YouTube Videos
- Subtitles and Captions on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
- Keep in mind that
- Captions must be as accurate as those that vendors such as 3Play Media provide.
- Auto-captioning is not sufficient on its own.
- Transcripts are not an acceptable replacement for video content.
- Any vendor-based captioning services will still need to be reviewed for accuracy.
- If a specific platform does not support overlaid and time-coded captions, you can provide a text transcript or a link to a transcript.
- Community members should use their own MIT budgets and funding sources to meet these requirements.
- Notice of the NAD settlement with MIT
- Other accessibility tips:
- To help blind visitors using screen reader software, please add “alt-text” descriptions to images.
- Community members should consider all aspects of digital accessibility and are encouraged to contact Disability and Access Services for guidance on how to make their websites and content more accessible. Also, Provost Schmidt has charged a Digital Accessibility Working Group to make recommendations on how MIT can make its technology and digital content more accessible.
To learn more about how to make your site more accessible, contact:
- MIT's Disability and Access Services team for questions about captioning tools, practices, or other technical issues, at
- Department of Mathematics: contact Becky at email@example.com or Sandi at