Making Your Pre-Recorded Videos Accessible with MS Stream

Have you ever scrolled through a video in a noisy environment, wishing it had captions? Imagine that feeling amplified for students who rely on closed captions for comprehension. Closed captions are more than just transcribed words; they are a bridge to understanding, ensuring that content is accessible to everyone, including those with hearing impairments.

CUNY-licensed MS Stream enables auto-generation of closed captions. However, when videos include recorded student participation, privacy becomes a paramount concern. Please follow the steps below to make your pre-recorded videos more accessible and protect student privacy.

CUNY Guidelines on Recording of Remote Classes

While recording classes serve the students’ interests, disseminating a class recording outside its participants without express written consent from all students is a violation of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Access Stream and upload a video

  1. Click on this link to access Microsoft Office 365
  2. Log in using your CUNYfirst credentials (
  3. In the search bar at the top, type Stream
  4. Click on the Stream icon.
    MS Stream Icon

Need help logging in?↗️

Once you are logged in MS Stream, you can upload an existing video.

  • Click on Upload at the top of the page.
    Upload video icon in MS Stream

Once your video is uploaded on MS Stream, you can initiate auto-generation of closed captions (CC) for enhanced accessibility.

  1. Click on the video title.
  2. Click the Video Settings option at the top of the right-hand menu.
    Video Settings icon in MS Stream
  3. Click on the Transcript and Captions dropdown, Generate, and select your desired language. Note that this may take several minutes depending on the size of your video file.
    Generate transcript & captions on MS Stream

To view auto-generated closed captions (CC),

  • Click on the Play button to play the video
    Play button on MS Stream
  • Click on the CC icon at the bottom right of the video screen and select English (United States)
    View CC in MS Stream
  • The closed captions will appear at the bottom of the screen as the video is playing.
  • Click on Transcript on the vertical menu on the right of your video
    View Transcript on MS Stream
  • The transcript on MS Stream will be divided into time slots, ensuring the text appears on-screen in sync with the spoken words.
  • Hover your mouse over the time slot you wish to edit and click on the Edit button that appears in the right corner.
    Edit Transcript on MS Stream
  • If you wish to download the transcript, click on the Download button at the top.
    Download transcript on MS Stream
  • You can edit the transcript you have downloaded in the previous step. If you wish to upload it back to the video,
    • click on the Video Settings option on the vertical menu
    • click on Transcript and Captions
    • click on Upload

It is recommended that instructors avoid sharing live sessions with student participation in future classes or public settings. Instead, share the recording with the current class providing students with the opportunity to revisit complex topics.

  • Click on the Share button
  • Click on the Sharing Settings icon (cogwheel) on the top-right.
    Sharing settings in MS Stream
  • Share the link with
    • Anyone option will allow you to share the link with anyone in the world who has access to the link. Depending on whether the students’ identifiable information appears in the video, we do not recommend that option.
    • People in CUNY means faculty, staff, and students from every CUNY campus will be able to watch the video if they have access to the link or if they locate it through SharePoint with their own CUNY Microsoft Office 365 account.
    • People with Existing Access refers to people who already have access to the folder where your video is saved.
    • People you choose option allows you to share your video with specific people you choose inside or outside of CUNY.
  • More settings
    • You can toggle between allowing people with the link to edit your video or just view it.
    • You can also allow the viewers to download the video or prevent them from downloading it.
  • Click on Apply
  • Click on the Copy link and paste it on Blackboard or an email. This is the recommended option.
  • If you wish to send the message to specific people by adding their emails in the field at the top, please note that the system searches the entire CUNY directory including faculty, staff, professional groups, and students from all CUNY campuses. Finding the correct recipient may be a challenge, especially if you are searching for a person with a common name.

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