Choosing Resources & Media

green arrow pointing toward the leftCourse Design & Development

someone choosing an image on an iPadThe World Wide Web is an amazing place, full of tons of learning opportunities.  Education has changed greatly since its introduction and we encourage you to take advantage of the resources and media out there.


The Clarkson University Library is a wonderful resource for both discipline-specific materials as well as writing, citation, and research materials. The librarians are willing and anxious to help with your course needs, so please feel free to contact them at any time.

Clarkson University Library webinars specifically geared towards online courses:

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Educational Resources (OER) are lessons and materials that have been created by faculty, vetted by a review team, and posted as open for you to use (some have a fee, but most are free.) The purpose of groups like MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resources For Learning And Online Teaching) is to provide a space and formal review process for such materials and make it easy for you to search and download. Explore MERLOT to locate some useful materials to integrate into your course. Work smarter, not harder. winking emoticon

MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching)

OERs in MERLOT – Clarkson University webinar


The internet is littered with images that can be used to increase learning engagement in your online course.  Here are a few tips when choosing images:

Why should we use images to enhance learning?

Clark and Mayer’s (2002) Multimedia Principle suggests that learning is strengthened when visual representations are combined with text, compared to just text alone.  We want to look for opportunities to transform text into diagrams or images to provide learners with an alternate means of absorbing the content, while increasing the visual appeal of a page or slide.

Use images that enhance, clarify, and engage your content, not just for flash and pizazz:

Sweller’s (1988) Cognitive Load Theory suggests that reducing extraneous load by eliminating elements that aren’t necessary to the content helps effective learning take place. While images can be used to greatly enhance learning, they can also be distracting if they aren’t related to the content. You should generally avoid adding animations that play automatically or images that are there just to make a page look more interesting.

Be mindful of copyright:

There are several locations that you can obtain images that are legal to post in your online course.  Some require attribution, and others don’t.  If you are unsure if something you find online may be legally used in your course, contact the Instructional Designers or the Library.

Here are some sources for images that are legal to use:

Website: Attribution Required: Notes:
Creative Commons Search Tool Yes Use any of the search tools labeled “image”.
Wikimedia Commons Yes  Most items are free to use, but check the specific Copyright information underneath each image.
Flickr Yes Must mark “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content” when conducting search.
.gov websites Yes Examples: National Science Foundation, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, etc.
Pixabay No A search will suggest some “sponsored images” from Shutterstock at the top. These we cannot use.
4 Free Photos Yes A search will also suggest some “low cost” images on Shutterstock. These we cannot use.
Free Digital Yes We can only use the small version of the images.

How do I cite an image properly?

All images in your online course should include a citation unless they are personal photographs, self-created image/diagram, or the location you obtained them from specifically states that no attribution is required. Even websites that allow for free or creative commons license use may ask that you include an attribution.

Citation Machine is a website that allows you to enter the information for an image in, and it will generate the citation for you. Use the links below to generate an image citation:

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