Tag Archives: images

100 ways to use a VLE – #88 Embedding Images

Gloucestershire College

Often many VLE courses look very “boring”, a list of resources and activities. This is partly down to the fact that a VLE is often seen by practitioners as a repository of content, with links to resources and activities. One way to break up the list is to use images to enhance the visual appeal of the course on the VLE.

Within Moodle this is done through the use of labels, though the process of embedding an image is not that simple. If you are on Moodle 1.9 many staff find it complex and difficult to follow. One issue that does arise is the necessity of resizing images, especially those taken with a digital camera. Though Moodle allows you to resize the images from a resolution perspective, this doesn’t reduce the file size of the images, so the page on Moodle containing the image will take a long time to download.

The process in Moodle 2.0 is much much easier and if your Moodle is configured to use external repositories such as Flickr and Wikimedia it is even easier to embed high quality and relevant images into a course on the VLE. However if uploading your own images, the size problem will still be there.

One solution to this is to use an online service such as Flickr which will then allow you to embed a resized image into the page on the VLE. You do need to understand a little about how images are embedded into a webpage, but the process once done can be easily replicated into other pages or activities on the VLE.

Firstly find the image on Flickr. Using Advanced Search will enable you to find images that are available for reuse (through Creative Commons).

So make sure you have checked the check box for Creative Commons.

Having found a suitable image, on the image page there are options available from downloading or sharing via other services.

From the Share button.

Grab the HTML/BBCode

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesclay/3607561914/" title="Gloucestershire College by James F Clay, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3311/3607561914_63110b0549.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Gloucestershire College"></a>

I have used this embed code at the top of the blog post. Flickr allows you to use different sizes of images, so you can go for smaller images.

On the Moodle page or label the key is to click the relevant button to switch to HTML.

On Moodle 1.9 it is called Toggle HTML Source.

On Moodle 2.0 it is called Edit HTML Source.

Paste in the embed code into the window.

Images in themselves offer lots of learning opportunities and can be used in a variety of ways to extend and enhance the learning process. The VLE as a tool to support learning shouldn’t exclude the use of images, so practitioners need to learn how to embed images withint the VLE.

The end result is an image embedded into the course on the VLE. Images can add a visual appeal to a course, emphasise a topic, or enrich an activity.

Flickr Advanced Search

I like Flickr, not just for a place to upload my photographs, but also as a place to find photographs. Regular readers of the blog will know that I use images often to illustrate my writing. Some of these are mine, but many are creative commons licensed images from Flickr.

It’s very easy to search for creative commons licensed images on Flickr, but getting to the advanced search is not the easiest route (or if it is I haven’t found it). So I usually add the direct URL as a bookmark or a favourite.


Another way to search for creative commons licensed images is to use the search box on the creative commons website.

100 ways to use a VLE – #47 A gallery of images

You can very easily add images to a course on the VLE, but what about a whole series of images? Also why would you do this?

Imagine that you are a catering lecturer and you have taken a series of images of a cooking technique, it could have been boning a chicken, filleting a fish, cutting carrots… It would be nice to be able to add the images to the VLE and importantly allow learners to access those images easily and simply. It’s not just catering, plumbing, electrical, construction, motor vehicle engineering, biology…

Another reason is that the learners have been on a field trip and a series of photographs was taken and you want to share those images not just with those learners who went, but those that didn’t or couldn’t.

Think about an assignment based on a particular city or town, a gallery  of images can be used to show off attractions or places in that place.

On Moodle I have been using Lightbox Gallery.

As well as creating a very attractive gallery of images you can configure the Moodle module to allow learners to comment on the images.

One of the features I do like about this, is that though it is useful to resize the images (from a disk space perspective) if the practitioner does not have the skills (or probably more likely doesn’t have the software) to resize the images. If the images are uploaded as is to Lightbox Gallery then Lightbox Gallery will resize them for the end user depending on their screen resolution.

Another attraction of Lightbox Gallery is that it can also be used to show off a PowerPoint presentation without the learner needing to download and open the presentation – also useful if that learner does not have PowerPoint or is accessing the VLE from a mobile device.

Showing a gallery of images is a nice visual way of enhancing a learning activity.

Picture source.

Have you stopped beating your wife?

Have you stopped beating your wife?

Just answer the question, yes or no?

No sorry, just answer the question…. yes or no….

Think about, it, what is implied if you say yes or no.

This is a classic loaded question in which you can not just answer yes or no, without implying that you either beat your wife now or have done in the past.

The problem with some questions, is that there is no yes or no answer, even if at first look there only seems to be a yes or no answer.

The question needs to be rephrased in order to elicit a valid yes or no response. Or you ensure that it is an open question.

The same happens with lots of questions about copyright, as a result the answer is not a simple yes or no, but often a maybe, or depends…

The main reason for this is that questions on copyright too often focus on the act of copying or an activity related to copyrighted content.

This will generally be a loaded question about a specific activity which can not be applied to all and any content, as it is the content that defines what you can do with it, not the activity.

The questions needs to be clarified with the content that you are working with.

For example.

Is using an image found via a Google Image Search in a handout illegal?

You can’t answer that question with a simple yes, or no. So often the answer has to be; that using an image from Google Image Search “may infringe copyright”. The reason is simple some of the images from a search are copyrighted and can not be used in handouts, some images will be licensed under a creative commons licence, some rights holders of images will be happy with you using your image for non-commerical educational reasons, some images will be in the public domain.

The problem with the question “Is using an image found via a Google Image Search in a handout illegal?” is that it implies that either all images are okay to use, or all images by their use would infringe copyright.

You would have to re-phrase the question:

Is using THIS SPECIFIC image found via a Google Image Search in a handout illegal?

Now you can give a yes or no answer. You can’t answer definitely about the activity without the context of the content. It is much easier to define what you can and what you can not do when it comes to content; almost impossible when trying to define what you can by activity.

However this doesn’t really help the practitioner who wants a simple yes or no answer to their original question.

As I said in my last post on copyright,

Those of us who support learners need to provide solutions, not barriers to teachers.

So rather than spend time answering questions about what you can and can not do, or which images you can and can not use, you provide teachers with collections of images that can be used, so the question need never to be asked or answered.

For example there are thousands of images on the web that can be used for teaching and learning, many using Creative Commons licences.

Use Google Image Search and find images you can use.

Creative Commons licensed images from Flickr

Images (and other media) from Wikimedia Commons

Public Domain images from the US Government

Or get your institution to sign up to a licensed image collection such as JISC Collections Education Image Gallery.

Teachers also need to be more creative and willing to compromise over which specific images they want to use. Yes we know that particular picture from  Getty Images is what you want, but why not use a different one instead.

Also remember that under the UK Copyright Act you can show an image in the classroom without needing a licence, so even if there is a specific image you need to use, show the image rather than make copies of it. Link to the page with the image on, rather than put it on the VLE.

The answer as I have mentioned many times before on this blog and during workshops and presentations, is not about putting up obstacles, it is about informing teachers providing them with solutions and removing barriers.

As for the image above, well it was found via searching Flickr for Creative Commons licensed images using the term “judge uk” and as part of the Creative Commons licence I need to attribute the image on this blog via a link back to the photo page on Flickr. I license all my photographs on Flickr under a similar licence.

Photoshop Express

Adobe have released an online photo editing app which they have called Photoshop Express.

You shot it — now do something to it. Make it pop. Make it impossible to ignore. Upload, sort, polish, and store up to 2GB of photos. All for free. Resize, tint, distort, and more — add your mark to all your images. Then show them off on Adobe® Photoshop® Express or your Facebook page.

A bit of a warning, this is not an online version of Photoshop. This is an online photo editing application which Adobe have called Photoshop Express.

It reminds me a lot of iPhoto and many Mac users will find it pretty simple and easy to use and very familiar, but obviously Photoshop Express also works on Windows PCs.

Unlike (the real) Photoshop which has a pretty steep learning curve this has a pretty simple interface which works quite well.

Photoshop Express

Certainly worth a look as both an online photo editor but also as an online photo storage tool.

Amazing how much cheaper things have become…

Just under four years ago (November 2003) someone on the ILT Champion mailing list asked about getting a “cheap” high end digital camera for printing images at A2 size.

I posted the following reply.

To be honest in order to get anything decent to scale up to A2 then you are going to need a minimum of 3000×2000 pixels (preferably higher than that) which means a 6MP digicam which will be at a minimum £1000, probably nearer £3000 to get something decent..

There is an easier way and you will get a much better quality image as well. As the need is for marketing purposes, the instantability (sp?) of a digital camera is not needed. I would use a normal SLR film camera (£300) and when it’s developed get it scanned onto CD. My local camera shop will put a whole 35mm film onto a CD scanning in at 3000×2000 pixels for just £10.00.

You don’t even need a SLR, as even those 35mm throwaway cameras can give you a better quality image than a 6MP camera. You could do what is needed for less than £20!

You could get an even larger number of megapixels by using a dedicated flatbed scanner.

Digital cameras are great and have their place, however for your needs I think that you will be better off with a film camera and get it scanned onto cd when you have it developed.

It’s incredible how much has changed in the last four years…

Sony Cybershot W35I now have a 7.2MP camera, a Sony W35, which costs just over £100!

It also has a decent Carl Zeiss lense and a lithium ion battery (so a charge will last all week).

The price of digital cameras has really come down in price. Look at all these 7MP cameras available from Amazon which show how cheap they have become.

Today you need to be less concerned about mega-pixels and be more concerned about the quality of the lense, the life of the battery, how quickly the camera starts up and how quick it is to take photographs.

Scanning in slides and photographs

If you are scanning in slides or taking digital images of projected slides, ensure that your institution has the rights to the images on those slides. A lot of colleges in the long and distant past would have purchased slide collections and now want to digitise them, ensure that you have the rights
to do so.

Who does own the rights to the slide, they do belong to the original photographer, but if they were an employee of the college and they took the photographs for using within a course being taught in the college then the copyright belongs to the college, unless there was an agreement to the contrary.

When producing electronic resources I commit myself to only utilise images that I have the rights to use – and in most cases these rights would have been purchased or owned by me.

As a result I will often take photographs for learning resources.

However be aware that taking photographs of students (and staff) can breach both the data protection act and the human rights act and therefore if there are people in your pictures ensure that they have signed a model release form before using them in learning resources or publicity material.

The other thing to remember is that a lot of image collections you can buy are for personal use only and can not be used in an educational context without the written permission of the copyright holder.

My line is, if in doubt don’t use it.

One way to find images you can use is via Flickr and search for those images which have a creative commons licence.

The information being provided in this posting is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as constituting legal advice.

Attending a digital images workshop

I am currently attending a workshop on digital images at the JISC Digitisation Conference.

It is a technical briefing on capture, conversion and workflow.

Nigel Goldsmith, the TASI Technical Research Officer is talking about images, RAW format, Adobe’s Digital Negative format and JPEG2000.

Outlining many of the problems with JPEG2000 and why it isn’t widely used or supported.

It’s quite interesting.