Frequently Asked Questions - Faculty

Frequently Asked DSP Questions from Faculty


There are more than 3500 students with disabilities at UC Berkeley today including undergraduates and graduate students. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, our students with disabilities have a right to full access to all of UC Berkeley’s academic environments. 

The Disabled Students’ Program is the campus department that has the responsibility of determining which accommodations, services, and adjustments each student needs to address barriers in the academic environment.  We do this by reviewing medical, psychological, and educational documentation and interviewing the student regarding their past educational experiences.

If a requested accommodation alters an objective or standard of your course, then it may not be a reasonable accommodation. 

For Example:

  • If a student with a vision impairment is taking a language course that requires manually producing the written language with its characters, a request to use a word processor and type the words would most likely not be a reasonable accommodation. 
  • If a student in a PE course missed enough foundational skills classes and there is no way to make up for the missed skill practice, additional absences may not be reasonable.
  • If you are concerned that an accommodation request is not reasonable in your course, please contact the DSP specialist who sent the accommodation letter right away.  Please do NOT discuss your concerns with the student.
  • We hope that the information below answers many of your questions about DSP and accommodating students with disabilities.  If you have additional questions, feel free to contact any Disability Specialist or the DSP Director at  Contact for specific service areas are below.

How long does it take to get media captioned?

For shorter videos of ten minutes or less, please allow up to a one-week turnaround. For longer videos, please allow up to two weeks. For last-minute media captioning requests, please contact directly to have your request expedited. Please plan accordingly. If videos are not captioned, they may not be shown in class or be required to view outside of class time. Please submit videos with as much advance notice as possible.


Is a transcript of a video sufficient?

If the media has audio and video, you need to have it captioned. A transcript is not sufficient.


Why do videos need to be captioned if there’s a realtime captioner or ASL interpreter in the class?

It is impossible for the student to watch the video and watch the captions/interpreters simultaneously.  Information will be missed on one end or the other, thereby missing portions of the captions/interpreting.

What is the difference between captions and subtitles?

Subtitles are generally intended for people who are able to hear. Subtitles are most often used to display a different language than the one spoken in the video. Subtitles only include the words spoken.

Captions are intended to provide access to people who are unable to hear. Unlike subtitles, captions include the spoken word, sound effects, music description, and identification of speakers.


What should I do if the media I plan to use is not captioned?

If there is a student in your class requiring captioned media, you may not play uncaptioned media.

However, with sufficient time, it is possible to obtain captioned materials. Please check your DVDs, CDs, videotapes, and web videos well in advance to determine if they are captioned or not. If your material is not captioned, contact about the procedures for getting materials captioned.


What is captioned media?

Captioned media displays spoken words as text and includes speaker identifications, sound effects, and music description.


What is CART Real time captioning?

Realtime Captioning is the immediate stenographic transcription of the spoken word into text. This text can be viewed on a mobile device, computer, tablet, or large screen.  Realtime Captioning enables people who are hard of hearing or D/deaf equal access to fully and actively participate.

My student needs an alternative format of my exam. What do I do?

If you are a faculty member or GSI who needs to convert an exam into an alternative format, please send an email to in which you share with us the following information:

  • Student name

  • Student ID 

  • Class name

  • Professor name 

  • CCN