Using Flickr with Blackboard

To start, Flickr photos can be used to spruce up the appearance of your Blackboard class and to make it appear more engaging.

I found this photo by going to, clicking on Flickr, and typing in “psychology” as the search term.

I used to have Super Human Powers

Notice that it is licensed by the Flickr user Esparta under Creative Commons terms that do allow for sharing. Starting out by searching for Creative Commons images can help you avoid sharing photos that are copyrighted in ways that ask you not to repost.

When I went back to the Creative Commons Flickr search and typed in “Freud,” I did find a picture of Sigmond Freud that was available to share. I also found a photostream called “Psychology Pictures.” That gave me access to a number of images that could be used in a unit on psychology, including this B.F. Skinner exhibit of pigeons play ping pong.

B.F Skinner

Anything you say is bound to be more interesting once you have the pigeons there to set it up.

You can find any number of images on any number of subjects in Flickr (and through Creative Commons) that, when integrated into your Blackboard course, can clarify or enhance information (or perhaps just make everything a little more entertaining.

You can also upload your own photographs into Flickr and embed them from there into Blackboard. This is often better than uploading pictures directly to Blackboard because Flickr is made for handling images. They load faster from Flickr and are easier for students with slower connections to view. Plus, Flickr allows for easy editing of images through another online tool called Picnik.

Just go to and sign up for a free account to get started. Paid accounts are also available if you want to upload more images than the free version allows.

I’ll leave you with this image, which I found through Creative Commons on Flickr by search “anxiety.”

Anxiety - photo used under Creative Commons Licence

I hope this isn’t how you feel about redesigning your Blackboard course.

Cool Tech Tool: Picnik

Picnik is absolutely one of my favorite online tech tools.  It’s a photo editor and so much more.  Mostly, though, it’s incredibly easy to use, and it is free…unless of course you want the premium service.  If you just need to resize and crop a little, or even if you need to overlay some text on an image, but you lack the time or inclination to use a complicated photo editor, this is for you.

It offers simple ways to send photos on to Flickr, Facebook, and other popular sites, and the ease of use means even the most rank amateur can photo blog or at least photo share.  If you plan to do any kind of photography projects with students, and you aren’t teaching graphics design, this one’s a must.

Featured Blog(s): Parts-n-Pieces + Composing with Images



Composing with Images


Billie Hara writes about teaching, academic and social issues, and photography (among other things) at Parts-n-Pieces.  She’s also kept a photo blog called Project 365 for several years.  She’s done stunning work with both her writing and her photography.  Visit her blog when you have plenty of time to browse.

Now Billie has started a new photo project along with Bill Wolff who has his own great blog at Composing Spaces. Each week at Composing with Images Billie and Bill post side-by-side images related to a central theme.  The photography is fantastic, and the concept is a truly innovative approach to photo-blogging.