“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words”
Arthur Brisbane, a newspaper editor, offered this timeless advice in 1911. Visual images are one quick, relatively easy, potentially powerful way to disrupt the monotony of text monopoly in an online learning environment. As preferred learning styles of students vary, inserting an image provides opportunities for students to engage with materials in different ways and can enhance a course for everyone. Adding relevant visual images to introduce content or topics may be an effective strategy for assisting student memory processes in making concepts stick and recalling them via visual cues.
Be Respectful of Copyright
When adding an image to your course, be respectful of digital copyrights. Be aware that there are limitations to using images found on the Web. Look for images which carry a Creative Commons license which grant copyright permissions allowing the image to be copied, distributed, remixed, and edited.
|Not all cat pictures are created equal. Unlike many photos of cats found on the Internet, the photo below ports a Creative Commons license. You can use CC-licensed materials as long as you follow the license conditions. One condition of CC licenses is appropriate attribution. When using an openly licensed image, be sure to provide a link to the photo location, the photographer, and the license deed detailing conditions. The caption for this photo is an example of attribution which includes these elements.|
|A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words by dyyanae is licensed under CC BY 2.0 license.|
Searching for Images
Search for Creative Commons licensed images at the following sites. Be mindful of time as you conduct these searches as it slips away quickly when searching for just the right photo to convey just the right concept.
Creative Commons—search through multiple sites from one place
FlickrCC—images offered on Flickr by users who have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license
morgueFile—a collection of high resolution stock photos offered free for use by corporate or public use
Wikimedia commons—a database of freely usable media files
Add Alternative Text Descriptions to Images
Be sure to add “alt text” for each image used in your course. This alternative text is a brief description detailing the nature of the visual element. If using images purely for aesthetics, add an empty “alt” tag for the image. Use of “alt text” and “alt” tags ensures that your course is accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Brisbane, A. (1911, March 28). Speakers give sound advice. Syracuse Post Standard, 8.