Engaging Online Materials

Last updated: August 15, 2022

Transforming your existing instructional materials for online presentation and use requires more than copying content into Web pages. Here are some resources for repurposing and enlivening your content for effective electronic presentation.


These comprehensive reference works contain everything you might want to know about writing and formatting text for Web delivery. Jakob Nielsen and Sarah Horton are widely-respected authorities on Web design.

  • The “Web Style Guide,” 3rd edition, by Patrick Lynch and Sarah Horton includes basic design principles as well as tricks of the trade.
  • Writing for the Web,” by Jakob Nielsen summarizes a range of Web writing principles in succinct, straightforward statements with details about typestyles, lists, captions and other elements of Web-formatted text.
  • Seeing the difference between raw text and edited text designed to engage website visitors is helpful in cementing the principles presented above.


Online resources for appropriate, attractive, and accessible graphics in online courses.


  • One of the best resources available for accessibility issues is the DO-IT program at the University of Washington. Their website includes guidelines for creating accessible Web pages.
  • Jakob Nielsen writes a weekly column on good, usable Web design. Much of his advice is directed to commercial Web sites, but his principles apply to all Web design.
  • In addition to Edward Tufte’s books on good informational graphic design, he has a website. His question-and-answer page may give you more than you really want to know, but is entertaining. Here, Tufte discusses the pitfalls of PowerPoint.
  • For guidelines on creating graphics visible to a colorblind person, see “How to Make Figures and Presentations that Are Friendly to Color Blind People“.

Free Art Online

  • The University of Washington Library’s database of image collections
  • Google Images searches for graphics relevant to your search terms. Be careful! Not all of these are free or in the public domain. When in doubt, use a link to the source, rather than copying the graphic.

Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use

Creating and Using Rubrics for Assessment

  • Teacher Created Rubrics for Assessment: a gateway site to guidelines for creating assessment rubrics for a variety of activities. Intended for K-12 teachers, but applicable to higher education as well.

This list was compiled by Linda Baker and Jan Kinney from UW Educational Outreach.