Online Course on Audio Description

Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal – ON-LINE! And FREE!

Note: While this option should not be construed as a substitute for a face-to-face training, it may be helpful for some people.

Audio Description is a literary art form. It’s a type of poetry-a haiku. It provides a verbal version of the visual-the visual is made verbal, and aural, and oral.

Using words that are succinct, vivid, and imaginative, describers convey the visual image from television and film that is not fully accessible to a significant segment of the population * and not fully realized by the rest of us-the rest of us, sighted folks who see but who may not observe. Audio describers provide services in various multi-media settings, including theater, television, video, film, exhibits, museums, and educational venues-but also at circuses, rodeos, ice skating exhibitions and myriad sports events.

The American Foundation for the Blind now estimates that over 25 million Americans are blind or have trouble seeing even with correction.

For broadcast television, on film and videotape and on DVDs, AD enhances the regular program audio, precisely timed to occur only during the lapses between dialogue. Until June of this 2009, description was accessed on televised programs in the United States via a Secondary Audio Program channel; now description audio is one of several additional audio tracks available digitally.

This course is particularly timely: President Obama recently signed into law a mandate for description on broadcast television beginning late in 2011. Thus, the need for professionally trained describers will increase dramatically throughout 2011.

The sessions will introduce participants to the principles of description, how to produce quality description, and the importance of close communication with the “end users”-people who are blind or have low vision and all people who support this innovative use of technology to provide greater media access.

Go to:

Click on Program & Services in the drop-down menu, click on ON-Line Courses.

Before you go further, you’ll need to click on “Become A Member” at the top of the screen. Enter an email address and choose “community”-that’s the free option. You should then be eligible to take the course. Once you’re all signed up/signed in, you can simply click on Fractured U. and choose Courses at the top. The course is listed about half-way down: Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal.

The course was developed and is monitored by Joel Snyder. . One of the first audio describers, Snyder began describing theater events and media in 1981. In addition to his ongoing work in these genres (Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, “Sesame Street,” DVDs and feature films), each year he develops audio described tours for major museums throughout the United States including the Smithsonian Institution, the Getty, the Albright-Knox, the National Aquarium, and several State museums and myriad National Park and Forest Service exhibit centers.

He has introduced audio description/conducted audio description workshops in 30 states and D.C. and over 25 countries; in summer 2008, Snyder presented workshops in Montpellier, Shanghai, Beijing and provided description for the World Blind Union in Geneva. Most recently, he trained describers in Brazil and presented papers on description in Italy at the International Conference on the Arts & Society and in Spain at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (where he is a Ph.D. candidate, expected 2011).

301 920-0218

President, Audio Description Associates, LLC “The Visual Made Verbal” ™ ADA logo–an eye within an ear
6502 Westmoreland Avenue, Takoma Park, MD 20912 – 301 920-0218
Cell: 301 452-1898 – Fax: 408 445-0079

For more information about audio description, please visit:

Director, Audio Description Project
American Council of the Blind – 202 467-5083 ACB logo ADP logo

About John Tubbs

eLearning Developer College of Business University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign