Working with CART (Real-Time Captioners)

What is CART?

CART stands for Communication Access Real-Time Transcription. CART captioners are professionals who provide an accommodation for students with disabilities to help remove barriers to communication access. The captioner uses a stenographer's device to input everything that is spoken during live classes. The live captions are streamed to the student through a separate bridge link where they are able to read the text on their own computer display, projection screen or mobile device. In most cases, CART is provided by a live captioner on-site and is in the room with the student. However, because of high demand, transportation issues or classes offered virtually, CART can be offered remotely. CART transcripts are available to the student within 24 hours of their classes, and also may serve as a notetaking accommodation.

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Where will the CART captioner be located?

On-site: For in-person services, the captioner will find a location in the classroom close to the student and a power outlet. The captioner needs to have access to a power outlet. Furniture labeled as belonging to the CART provider may be placed in the classroom for their use. No one else should use this furniture to ensure they have a seat.

Remote: When CART captioners are remote, they will need access to a synchronous Zoom link created by the instructor. This Zoom link should be the same Zoom link for the duration of the class, if possible, and should be given to the Access Center before the start of the term. The Access Center will then share it with the CART captioners. If any changes occur to that link, be sure to inform the Access Center. Do not use the Zoom setting “Authenticated Users Only” for your course meetings, as captioners may be unable to join. Instead, try requiring a passcode if needed. For remote/online classes, we advise you to keep the Zoom chat available. If the student or captioner has urgent questions or technology issues during class, this may be the best way to reach you.

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How to work effectively with CART captioners?

Provide a Zoom Link: Remote CART captioners will need to clearly hear the audio from the Zoom link. Most classrooms have now been equipped with podium and/or ceiling microphones to assist with clear audio capabilities. WSU IT staff or the Access Center staff may also provide instructors with a microphone for you to wear or to place near you to ensure you are adequately heard. For best practice, please turn on the Zoom camera so that your classroom presentation can be seen by the captioner. Also, remember to “screen share” any materials you are presenting electronically (power points, videos, etc.) to assist the captioner with accurate translation.

Add CART providers to your Course Spaces: Whether remote or in-person, CART providers will need access to instructor’s course spaces. The Access Center will work with Course Schedulers to add them as a “guest” or in a “tutor” role so they see what students see. This allows the CART provider to view you class schedule, links, syllabus and lecture materials, which assists them with vocabulary to help with the accuracy of the captions.

Demo: Washington State's DO-IT program has developed an excellent video regarding CART services. (Note that things may be done a bit differently at WSU.) Check out the CART services video here.

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What is CART provider's role?

CART providers are not WSU employees. They are contractors and/or WSU Affiliates. CART Captioners adhere to a Code of Professional Ethics and sign a non-disclosure agreement. They do not share or distribute the transcripts to anyone accept the student with accommodations.

CART providers cannot honor requests to add, delete or refrain from transcribing parts of lectures, conversations or instructions. They are an auxiliary service put in place to ensure full communication access for the student approved for this accommodation.

The CART provider should not participate in class activities or discussions as they are a service provider and not a student of the class.

The CART provider does not tutor the student and should not be asked to explain, define, or repeat information. Nor should they discuss anything about the student with the instructor or other students in the class.

CART providers do not take responsibility for the student's absences. If a student is absent, it is the student’s responsibility to inform the Access Center and the CART provider. CART services are not given to students during their absence. If the student fails to show up for class 20 minutes after the class starts, the CART provider will discretely leave the classroom or Zoom link. The CART provider will notify the Access Center coordinator about student absences. The student is responsible for any missed content.

CART providers are not to be asked to advise people on the subject of hearing loss or being Deaf.

CART captioners do not provide closed captioning for video content. Instructors should submit requests for Closed Captioning at least two weeks before class due date to allow our staff adequate time to complete request. All video content must be accurately captioned before it is made available to students or shown in class. For more information, please review our Closed captioning faculty guide.

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What if the CART provider has a tech issue or doesn't show up?

If a CART provider is not present or able to connect remotely, the student should immediately notify the their instructor and the Access Center by email ( If a replacement cannot be found immediately, there are things you can do:

Turn on the automated captions on Zoom as a back-up support. Please be aware that AI generated Zoom captions are NOT an acceptable substitute for the CART provided captions and should only be relied upon in case of an emergency. These are not to replace the CART accommodations, but supplement them in case of a CART provider absence. Automated captions are not accurate. They do not always pick up terminology, names or understand accents. However, they can be of some support.

Instructors may also provide lecture materials to the student, such as slides or an outline of the class session.

Record the lecture via Zoom Cloud and enable to automated captions. Send the student and the Access Center the recorded link and the Access Center will help get the raw transcripts edited and to the student.

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How else can I help?

It is important to create and share your class Zoom link and class schedule and with the Access Center before each term. If an on-site CART provider is out sick, they may require a substitute that can only provide remote services. If you know your meeting times are different than what is listed in the course description, please let us know.

Check your settings in Zoom. There are settings within Zoom that can allow only users with WSU emails into your meeting. While this can be useful, please do not use this setting for this course. The CART providers often do not have their own WSU emails to use and may be locked out of your class meeting. Instead, feel free to use a password that can also be shared to CART providers.

The CART captioners will be in contact with students and instructors via email to introduce themselves and reach out if questions arise during the term. Otherwise, they will be largely silent service providers in your class.

If you have any questions about working with CART, please contact the Access Center at

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