Accessible Technology at SMC Speech-to Text Technology



Purpose is speech to text software which creates shareable audio files and transcripts. Otter is useful in many contexts including lectures, meetings, brainstorming, and transcribing previously recorded multimedia.

Some Notable Features

  • Available as phone or computer app.
  • See text live as the app is recording.
  • Play back audio from any point by clicking on the text.
  • Share link to audio with text
  • Share transcript as text, docx (Word) or PDF file.
  • Export audio.
  • Import audio or video to transcribe.
  • Add vocabulary to enhance accuracy.
  • Otter Live Notes: integrates with Zoom recordings to display the live transcript in your browser window and/or captions in the bottom on your Zoom window.

More about Otter Lives Notes

One special feature of is Otter Live Notes which integrates Otter and Zoom.

  • If you have an Otter license and Zoom account from Santa Monica College you can run Otter Live Notes when you host your Zoom meetings.
  • You and the participants will see the live transcript running in your browser window next to your Zoom window.
  • You can also include closed captions running at the bottom of the Zoom window.
  • As the host you can annotate the running transcript with highlighting, comments and/or images.
  • After the meeting, you can send participants an editable transcript and/or a link to an Otter page where they can see the transcript and listen to the audio.

Universal Design vs. Disability Accommodations

We recognize Otter’s potential as an accommodation for students with disabilities. However, rather than providing Otter to individual students, we encourage professors using synchronous Zoom meetings to use Otter live notes with all their students. This universal design approach gives thousands more students access to a new tool which may enhance their academic success.

Otter Zoom Milk SI Units Demo

Requesting a License and Setting Up Otter Live Notes

We have a limited number of licenses (125) of Otter speech to text software available to our campus community.  While most of these will be reserved for our students with disabilities we have some available for our faculty or staff colleagues. 

  • If you are interested in an Otter license, please contact Distance Education at
  • Once DE has issued you an Otter license, you will be sent an email notifying you of your enrollment and providing a JOIN link to proceed with your Otter setup.

  • Additional setup instructions will be sent at that time.
  • By the end of the setup you will have opened an Otter account and made a few adjustments to your Zoom and Otter settings to enable Otter Live Notes.

If you have any questions about the setup, please contact one of our Otter support sources.

  • Distance Education Team:
  • Elena Throckmorton, Faculty, Center for Students with Disabilities, High Tech Training Center, x4267,
  • Corinne Haynes, Faculty, Center for Students with Disabilities, High Tech Training Center, x4267,
  • Aaron French, Alternate Media Specialist, x8934,

Notifying Participants

As a host of Zoom meetings running Otter Live Notes, you must notify all participants about the Otter audio recording and transcript. Faculty who intend to use Otter Live Notes should add a notification to their syllabi. Faculty opting to use Otter after a course begins need to notify their students in writing.

Suggested Text for Syllabi

This semester I will be using Otter Live Notes speech to text technology along with Zoom so students can see a transcript (and/or captions) of my lectures live during the lecture. After each Zoom lecture, I will be sending students a link to Otter through which they can hear the lecture and view the transcript. Additionally, I will be sending each student a Word document with the transcript of the lecture.

Otter Basics

Some Important Otter Usage Links

Otter Usage Notes

Questions and Support