FERPA for Educators

ferpaOne of the major issues in online teaching and learning is adhering to FERPA guidelines. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act  seeks to protect student private information. I get asked often about what FERPA means and hoe to address it.   Here is an animated video my student assistant, Maryann Dufresne, put together recently to help explain FERPA in simple terms.


Keynote Tutorial — Pin Markers

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 4.55.29 AMHere is a Keynote tutorial I put together that explains how to make “pin markers” to put on map images to highlight locations.

Keynote Pin Markers Tutorial from M. Ricardo Flores on Vimeo.

Accessibility Tutorial — Images



Images should be used purposefully in online courses. This tutorial provides some guidelines how to use images in Moodle (WebAccess), but the principles apply to any LMS or online distribution tool.

Accessibility Tutorial – Images from M. Ricardo Flores on Vimeo.

Accessibility Tutorial — Hyperlinks



Hyperlinks can be quite troublesome for people who require screen readers if the hyperlinks have not been appropriately created. This video explains how to address this.

Accessibility Tutorial — Hyperlinks (captioned) from M. Ricardo Flores on Vimeo.

Accessibility Tutorial: Color



Accessibility Tutorial – Color. Here is a short video tutorial I made explaining how to use color to make your online courses/websites a little more accessible to people with color blindness. I hope you’ll find it useful.

Accessibility Tutorial — Color from M. Ricardo Flores on Vimeo.

This video is part of a tutorial for accomplishing accessibility in distance education courses.

First post in a long time! – Instructional Design Theories Infographic

Full time work and doctoral studies are keeping me super busy, but finally I get a few minutes to post something on the good ol’ blog 🙂

Here’s a little infographic I made for one of my classes about learning design theories.

R541 - Instructional Theory Infographic V1.0

m. ricardo flores – infographic

Created in Illustrator CS6 for R541 Indiana University IST EdD Online Program   –  Spring 2013

Here’s another great resource for designers and educators

I recently came across this little gem called DesignBeep on the web. In there you’ll find a lot of high quality open source vectors, fonts, icons, tutorials, etc.

Check it out!


How do you find the time to create all the artwork you need for a given project when there are so many deadlines and variables?

A friend who is just getting started in instructional design asked me recently, “How do you find the time to create all the artwork you need for a given project when there are so many deadlines and variables?”

Well, the truth is that I try to use open source artwork and icons whenever possible. At this moment I am employed at a community college in California, and tax payer dollars fund my position. I was hired to design and implement solutions to educational needs and challenges, but I was not hired to be an artist (although I am very artistically inclined, and have the skills and knowledge needed to create my own art).

Because I am the only person in my department, and I don’t have an art department at my disposition, nor any illustrators or production artists I can request artwork from, I often have to use resources freely available on the web. In an effort to save the tax payers (and my employer!) money, and to avoid reinventing the wheel I use open source icons and artwork whenever possible.

As you might imagine, there are times when I can’t find the icon/image I need, or when the project calls for original artwork. In those cases I do design my own icons and/or images. However, illustrating icons and images can be a very time consuming activity, so I avoid having to make them from scratch if at all possible. I do a lot of illustrations in my own time to release the creative urges within me (and to keep myself sane!), but at work I need to move fast, and to save my employer money while taking care of business effectively and efficiently I use open source icons/images (I edit them if necessary).

Although aesthetics are a subset of design; design does not mean art. Design means problem solving and creating solutions with a plan (hopefully you do it aesthetically). So I stick to problem solving and designing solutions to educational needs as much as possible to maximize ROI for my employer.

Here are a couple of free icon/image resources I find useful in my practice (but there are tons available on the web):

Instant Shift

100+ Free High Quality Icon Sets for Web Designers and Developers. FREE

The Noun Project

The Noun Project collects, organizes and adds to the highly recognizable symbols that form the world’s visual language. FREE

Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr is one of the largest user-driven collections of images on the web. Many users share their images under a creative commons license which allows different levels of use. FREE

Flickr Commons

This is different from Flickr Creative Commons. This is great for historical photographs. The images here are provided by museums, libraries, universities, and other cultural heritage centers from around the world. FREE


They offer a mix of free and low-cost photos and stock illustrations. They also offer tutorials.

If you use any of these resources make sure to attribute credit to the original authors. I hope you find these useful!

M. Ricardo Flores

Tutorial – How to add students to Moodle course manually

It is very easy to add students and/or other participants to your Moodle course. In this  quick video tutorial I explain how to assign roles in Moodle 1.9. I hope you find it useful!

Sites I Recommend

This post contains links to a variety of pages that I either find inspirational, useful for instructional designers, informative, awesome, and/or all of the above!

I will add more links as I come across them, and if you know of any sites that should be in this list please send them forth and I will include them. Thanks!

These links open in a new window. If they don’t open change your browser setting to allow pop-ups, or in some systems you can either hold down one of the following keys: SHIFT, CONTROL, or COMMAND, at the same time that you click the link.

Here is the list of awesomeness:

Brain Pickings (Interesting curiosities and oddities for discovery-minded people)


d-school (Just pure design awesomeness)


NounProject (Open source editable icons. FREE!)


psdGraphics (Photoshop backgrounds, textures, icons, & tutorials)


Storyviz (Discover content & activities to learn about, teach, and create compelling stories & visual communication. d-school)


TED (Ideas worth spreading)


Visual News™ (a place where you can find daily visual inspiration from around the world)