Creating Interactive Images Using Google Drawing

Imagine having a static image–a map, a chart, a graph, an infographic, a poem, almost anything–which you then overlay with clickable points which students can choose in order to access more information about a particular aspect of the image.

Or imagine asking students to create such images for each other as teaching aids, assessments of knowledge, or paper-alternative research projects!

The possibilities for how you might incorporate such ideas are endless.  The project could be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.

And the only thing you really need to know is how to add hyperlinks to images using Google Drawing.

This video by Richard Byrne, curator of Free Tech for Teachers (one of my favorite sources for interesting ideas about using technology in the classroom), shows you in under four minutes how you can do this.

It’s remarkably easy.

Plus, it features the world’s largest buffalo!  Who can resist that?

Once you see how it works, the possibilities for how you or your students might use it are really endless.

Have fun!

Use Pixabay to Find Usable Images and Videos

Pixabay provides more efficient image searching that Google Images when I or my students are looking for image licensed for our use.

Snowy trees

The Pixabay website says:

Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free images and videos. All contents are released under Creative Commons CC0, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes.
You can copy, modify, distribute, and use the images, even for commercial purposes, all without asking for permission or giving credits to the artist. However, depicted content may still be protected by trademarks, publicity or privacy rights.

pine cone in snow

As you work with students this semester on digital projects which require images, why not point them to this resource?

Faux-pen Resources for Hope Students: Linking to Library Resources

Faux-pen Resources for Hope Students

Linking to Library Resources

by Jenifer Holman, Electronic Resources Librarian, Hope College

Van Wylen Library

Van Wylen Library has purchased or licensed access to many high-quality, academic journals, ebooks, ereference sources, and streaming videos.  Just having these great resources available through the library web site, however, is not enough to guarantee use. Having an instructor link to a resource through Moodle, electronic syllabi, or even through a class-specific email will increase the odds that students will find and read/view these resources. Librarians do ask that you link to these resources instead of sending a copy of an article or a book chapter. If you send a copy instead of linking, we will not be able to track the item’s use. Use is an important metric that we use in evaluating our collection of electronic resources.

Please remember two things as you link to library resources: 1) always use a persistent/stable link; and 2) remember to add our proxy prefix to enable off-campus access.

Finding a Persistent/Stable Link

This is a session link taken from a browser’s address bar:

While it works for awhile on the same machine on which it was first used, by the time you are reading this on your device, it may no longer work. Most of our information providers provide a “persistent” link that should work in perpetuity. Below are some example of how to find the persistent links for our most popular e-resource providers.



Films on Demand



Off-campus Access: Adding our Proxy Prefix:

Libraries use two main methods to authenticate off-campus users: WAM and EZproxy.  WAM links look like:

While EZproxy links look like:

During summer 2016, our library switched from WAM to EZproxy. If you have any links that start with “http://0-” please update them or ask a librarian for a new link. Librarians are here to help!

We now use EZproxy and our prefix is To keep this prefix at your fingertips (!) you could download a macro program like AutoHotKey and create a macro or simply link to our fantastic off-campus link generator.

Lastly, if you would like a librarian to review your links/resources to make sure they are linked correctly and that we hold the appropriate permissions for use in your course, please let us know by completing this brief form.

Thank you for using library resources!



Faux-pen Resources for Hope Students>Library Ebooks as Textbooks

Guest Post by Jennifer Holman, Electronic Resources Librarian at Hope College,

van wylen library photo

Academic libraries have largely stayed out of the textbook business because purchasing textbooks in a print environment does not make economic sense. Libraries cannot afford to purchase enough printed copies for all students.

In an electronic environment, however, those rules no longer apply. If the library owns an ebook available to unlimited users, why couldn’t it be used as an alternative to a print textbook? At Hope College, Van Wylen Library owns or has access to over 500,000 unique ebooks. Many of those come from scholarly publishers like Oxford, Wiley, Sage, and Taylor & Francis and are available on an unlimited access model.

Using these ebooks as textbooks is an access model labeled by some as “faux-pen”. Not full open educational resources (OER) like those found at openstax and OER Commons, but they are open to the Hope community.

The quickest way to see if your college library owns an ebook version of a text you already plan to use in your class is to do a title search in the catalog.  At Hope, you could do a title search in HopeCat, or I would be happy to search for your list of required course readings and report back to you on availability.

A recent example from Hope of a library-acquired ebook being used as a textbook is the New Oxford Annotated Bible, required in both REL100 and REL221.  When the bookstore ran out of copies, the library was able to purchase an ebook version, which has already been downloaded 8 times since we received it on September 11th.

Another required reading (perhaps not available through the bookstore), linked through a Moodle course page, had 1808 downloads in September.

I am not advocating for a wholesale switch to ebooks, but textbooks are expensive and I would like to make students aware of any library ebook availability before they purchased the print.

As you are pulling together your list of textbooks for Spring 2018, please consider ebook availability for your students.  If you are at Hope, feel free to share your list with me and I can let you know if there are options for electronic access that are free for your students.


Summer Reading in EdTech

During the summer months, I won’t be writing this blog twice a week as I do during the school year.

So, I want to share with you this “dean’s list” of best blogs in higher education and ed tech, from EdTech Magazine.

Ed Tech magazine logo

You’ll find a wide-range of topics and approaches to technology and higher education, from innovation labs to Open Educational Resources, from uses of social media to mobile apps, from humorous essays to podcasts.

Easy Source for Locating CC Licensed Photos for Use

selecting a photo

Whether creating resources for digital projects or projects based in paper, students (and teachers too!) often want to use images.  Often folks copy something from the web, but many of these are not legal to use.

So how do we find–and help our students find–photos with Creative Commons licensing for use and repurposing?

One great free resource is Photos for Class, a search engine that searches only images available for use in schools.

From their website:

  • Age Appropriate Images – All images are appropriate for the school setting, thanks to Flicker SafeSearch and our proprietary filters
  • Automatic Citation – Downloaded images automatically cite the author and the image license terms
  • Creative Commons – All photos shown are, to the best of our (and Flickr’s) knowledge, licensed by Creative Commons for public use

– See more at:

The photo at the start of this post is an example of a photo with automatic citation located on and downloaded from Photos for Class.

I can’t wait to share this with my own students, not only as a source for photos they can use, but as a teaching tool for how they can discover and correctly cite images they might find on their own from other resources.

Consider Involving a Librarian (or Two) in Your Course Development

Check out this article from Inside Higher Ed for three “immediate and obvious” reasons a librarian should be on every course development and teaching team, especially for large enrollment introductory courses with online or hybrid components.

The library is often where you’ll find the digital specialists–folks who know about copyright, digital platforms, creation of infographics, and resources for just about everything else.  Depending on your institution, if you have instructional designers or digital humanities specialists, they may work as part of the library staff!

I can’t think of a better place to start your search for free, open educational resources, than with a librarian.




Enhance Your Online Teaching by Exploring Online Learning

December is here and as many of us in higher education wind down our semesters, finish grading exams and papers and portfolios, we can look ahead to a bit of a break.  Time I normally spend crazily preparing for the new term.

Comfy Socks
Photo source: Nasreen Fynewever. CC Attribution License 2.0.

Part of my preparations for new courses in the new year is thinking about new ways I can use digital tools to help students achieve the goals of my courses.

The best way for me to get new ideas is to spend some relaxed time (that includes a cup of coffee and maybe some comfy socks), venturing onto the internet to see what other folks are up to.

This year, I plan to start at this post:  43 Websites the World Uses to Learn.

This link provides a hub to–you guessed it–forty-three websites of all kinds which the curators believe provide good learning.  They have organized the sites by five categories:

  1. Knowledge media
  2. Blogs
  3. Engaging Tools
  4. Communities
  5. Course Platforms

So far, I’ve found magazines, podcasts, blogs which illustrate concepts using stick figures, and many ways to take online courses for free.

In my own experience, nothing has given more inspiration and understanding for digital pedagogy than being a learner in other people’s online classes.

So why not spend some planning time getting inspired?

Do you have a favorite online learning resource that inspires you?  Consider sharing it in the comments.



Thankful for Copyright Free Photos From Wonderful Sources

During this Thanksgiving holiday season in America, I’m grateful for many things.  In terms of creating digital materials for online teaching and learning, today I’m grateful for “The Commons” at Flickr.

Image from page 331 of "American cookery" (1914)

According to their website, “the key goal of The Commons is to share hidden treasures from the world’s public photography archives.”

Notwithstanding a few drawbacks, there is still much to be thankful for this winter (LOC)

“Public” means that no known copyright restrictions exist on the images in this collection.  Therefore, these can be used without cost in my own and student digital projects.  You’ll want to read their Rights Statement to be sure you understand what, if any, restrictions there are for each image, particularly in commercial use.

Thanksgiving turkey  (LOC)

You can find a list of the many international public photography archives here.  Sources include museums, foundations, historical societies and more.  You might be amazed at what’s available.




Finding Public Domain and CC Media–A Guide From Harvard Law School

One of the challenges of creating digital tools for teaching and learning comes from the constant need for interesting audio and visual media.

While I do create much of my own material, sometimes I need something I can’t create on my own.  Or, frankly, I need to do something more quickly, and finding something to use that already exists would really help me move along.

But, of course, we all know we can’t just use any media we find.  And while we can purchase rights to many things, when I’m working fast, I tend to need free materials.  Free and legal.

That’s where the Harvard Law School Library guide to Finding Public Domain and Creative Commons Media comes in.


This guide includes:

  1. an explanation of the difference between public domain and creative commons
  2. a list of sources for photos in the public domain
  3. a list of sources for photos licensed for CC use
  4. a list of sources for audio in the public domain
  5. a list of sources for audio licensed for CC use
  6. a list of sources for video in the public domain
  7. a list of sources for video licensed for CC use

Bookmark this one for your own use.

I plan to share it with my students as well, to help them find appropriate resources for their digital projects.