Advanced Learning Technologies

Using Graphics/Images


Ensure that the graphics and images serve a purpose

Extraneous graphics or image files on pages affect download time. Graphics not serving a clear purpose distract or annoy students.

Avoid graphic-intensive pages

Many graphics increase loading times and that can be annoying. Many graphics on a page can often be overwhelming for students, making it difficult for them to focus in on any one thing. The optimal size for image files is 150 X 150 pixels and 600 X 100 pixels for banners in Blackboard .

Keep graphics small

Most students have little patience for slow loading pages. Remember that your students may be using a slow modem! Try to keep graphics file sizes under 40K.

Use graphics in GIF or JPEG file format

It is NOT recommended to use .bmp graphics with Blackboard. These files are very large and can affect your course performance, as they are slow to load, especially for modem users. Many scanners default to .bmp files, so make sure you check this if you are scanning photos or images.

Resolution - Having the image resolution higher than 72 dpi (dots per inch) will cause unnecessarily large file size, as most monitors will not be able to display a higher resolution than this.

Use only "web safe" colors - PCs generally have a palette of 256 colors for displaying images. To insure that PC users are seeing the same hues, choose from this common 256 color palette.

Provide "alt" tags for accessibility

Use alternative text tags through the "alt" command (e.g. alt="This is the logo of Miami University") to provide a text description for those with text-only browsers or those who may have graphics loading disabled on their browsers.

When using graphics, be sensitive to ethnic diversity and gender issues.

Getting Graphics

There are ways to obtain graphics for use in Blackboard including creating them with a draw, paint, or graphic program; using a scanner to digitize the image; using a digital camera; and using someone else’s image. There are several ways for doing latter including copying images from the Web, using clip art, and using graphics from other programs.

Copying Images from the Web

Copyright laws do apply to the Web. The standard is - everything is copyrighted, unless is says differently! This means that you cannot just copy anyone’s graphic images. You need to ascertain make sure it is public domain or able to be copied by anyone. Sometimes you can ask for permission to use a graphic image from the owner of the page - if they do indeed own the graphic. Remember that the basic rule is “do not copy unless you know you can”! Many sites offer free graphic images for the web. Everything from backgrounds, to icons, to images, to buttons and horizontal rules are available.

Using Clip Art and Graphics from Other Programs

Clip arts and graphics from other programs can be used in Blackboard. These types of images are generally not in a GIF format that is highly encouraged for use in Blackboard. Instructors will need applications such as PhotoShop or ArtWorks that will save or export images as GIF or JPEG files.

Scanning Images

Using a scanner is another way for getting images to go onto Blackboard. The same rules of copyright apply! You cannot just copy any image from any book any time. You must have permission or know that the image is public domain.

Digital Camera Images

Digital cameras are another way for digitizing images for use in Blackboard. The digital camera images tend to be bigger than they appear and they will need to be cropped and properly saved for use in Blackboard.