White Siamese kitten with blue eyes looking at camera

Inside Online Cl@ssroom: Effective Images

by Meg Elias

In the December 2017 issue of Online Cl@ssroom, editor John Orlando discusses the importance of “highly effective images” in teaching.  “The right image will grab your audience’s attention,” he says, so choose carefully.  There are plenty of websites that offer free, high quality images, and the LCC Library has a list of credible sites to get you started.

One source of images recommended by both Orlando and our own library is Pexels, a digital warehouse of over 40,000 pictures.  With the intent of creating a genetics lecture, I used the search term “cat” and found this striking picture by user tamba09.  All pictures on Pexels are posted with a CC0 license (free to be used for “any legal purpose”).

White Siamese kitten with blue eyes looking at camera

The coloration on this kitten makes it a good subject to begin a discussion on genetics, so I downloaded the picture to use on the title slide.

Orlando warns against overusing presentation templates, so instead of opening PowerPoint I used my Google account to log into Canva, a free online editing and presentation program.  I picked a free template and created a few slides:  

The Travelogue by Meg Elias

I found the software easy to use, and there is enough free content to keep the user busy for some time.  Canva has an accessibility issue, though: the resulting presentations could be used in a face-to-face lecture, but are NOT currently readable by a screen reader.  I discovered this when I tried to add alternate text to the cat image.  I sent an email to Canva Support stating my concerns and received this reply:

Canva is set to work best with the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge and IE 11. At this time, Canva has not yet been tested or optimized for screen readers and other devices aside from desktop/laptop computers, and the iOS mobile apps.

As a result, Canva presentations do not meet the Lansing Community College’s requirements for digital accessibility.   Because I might share this presentation online I will create my genetics lecture in PowerPoint for now, where I can add alternate text to the cat photo and create a presentation that’s ADA compliant.  

It’s tempting to jump into the newest Web 2.0 tool, but we are obligated to provide accessible content to our students.  If you need to assess a web tool for accessibility, please visit the CTE for help and guidance.

Online Cl@ssroom includes summarized articles from various educational publications, as well as original articles from university and college instructors. If you are interested in viewing articles in this and/or other publications, contact Meg Elias (clarkm1@star.lcc.edu) or stop by the CTE, TLC 324.

Reference: Orlando, J. “How to Find Highly Effective Images for Your Online Content.” Online Cl@ssroom.  17.12 (2017): 5. Print.


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