New Feature: Interactive Video Transcripts

By Joe Pickett, OCW Publication Director

Great news for video fans!

OCW is introducing a new way to watch videos: by interacting with their transcripts. This innovative feature provides a powerful way to search within a video and share clips.

The first course to receive this capability is 8.04 Quantum Physics I, whose lead instructor is Allan Adams.

Screenshot of video player with interactive transcript window collapsed.

The interactive transcript appears as a light gray bar beneath the video window. Click the down-arrow to open it up.

Screenshot of interactive transcript with window expanded, showing the text.

With the transcript box opened, the text of the audio scrolls along as the video progresses.

Search Within a Video

Screenshot of interactive transcript showing multiple occurances of the word "quantum."

Type any word in the search box, and every occurrence of the word in that video will be shown on the timeline bar as a white stripe. In the example above, we’ve found 10 uses of the word “quantum.” Mouse over any stripe, and a cluster of words at that point in the video will pop up, giving some brief context. Clicking on any stripe takes the transcript and the video itself to that moment in the video.

You can also click on any word in the interactive transcript, and the video will immediately jump to that moment.

Share and Save Clips

Screenshot of interactive transcript, showing how to Share a short clip based on selected text.

Supplementing this search capacity is the capacity to share favorite passages in the video via Facebook and Twitter. You can create links to specific places in a video and share them (or save them for later reference). Just highlight the passage in the transcript, click on the scissors icon located on the upper-right corner of the transcript box, and share away!

The interactive transcripts will be an additional capability on the OCW site and will not replace any of the familiar features, such as subtitles that appear in the video window (enabled by clicking on the “CC” box) and the capacity to download the course’s transcripts in toto.

OCW will be rolling out interactive transcripts for many more courses, amounting to hundreds of videos, over the next six weeks.

So stay tuned!

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