“What’s that funny black stripe under the pictures on your slides?” How to become an “Xpert”

23 10 2011

I am lucky enough to work in an institution which invests in eLearning and our team have some great tools which I make use of on a regular basis. It’s one of their inventions that I’d like to introduce you to, as I am often asked about it due to its rather visible presence on Power point slides.

The funny black stripe contains attribution and license details - this is one of ours!

Now I am generally a good law abiding citizen, but up to a couple of years ago I must admit that I was prone to “borrowing” the odd picture for presentations. And that’s not fair. Pictures on the internet still belong to someone, and even though I was always good at crediting the owner, and usually tried to get permission, this grey area of picture use was troubling.

Sometimes you have moments as an academic that really make you content with the talent around you, and it was a moment like this, sat at my desk, when I was introduced to the stress-reducing powers of Xpert. I received an email from our eLearning team asking me if I thought I’d have any use for a tool which “searched the internet and found creative commons images and then downloaded them with fully embedded attribution”. Oh yes, most definitely, I replied. And so I tried out the first version of Xpert. Xpert searches for OER content across the web, and can find you all sorts of useful teaching material. But if you click on the magic media tab, you will find the black stripe impregnating implement which just makes life SO much easier.

Type in horse and you get all this.....

Type in a key word, or words, and it will harvest C-C licensed images, videos and sounds from across the internet. Scroll through the collection, check the license type, and download, with a nice stripe across the bottom telling you where it came from and how it is licensed. So no more forgetting if that is a safe image you have on your PC. No more worrying about recordings of your “grey” images making it onto student devices and beyond.

Sometimes it is the simplest things in life that make it better, and this is certainly one of those things. Copyright is a complex thing, and my advice is a two pronged attack –  a direct line to @glittrgirl (MEDEVs copyright queen!), and www.nottingham.ac.uk/xpert as a favourite on your tool bar!