Adding Multimedia

Now that you’ve created and configured your “My Sandbox” book, let’s look at some of the steps you can take to transform your flat text into content that is more easily digestible and engaging from a learner perspective. In this section, we’ll look at some of the options you might consider to make y our resource more dynamic, visually appealing and interactive. These include:

  1. Textboxes
  2. Images
  3. Audio
  4. Video
  5. H5P Interactive Elements


Within the Visual Editor, there is a “Textboxes” option. You can see from the image below the number of options that have been designed with suggested content in mind.

Various textbox options included examples, key takeaways and learning objectives

Activity: Insert Textbox

It is recommended that the Textboxes be used for the purpose they have been designed for (e.g., Learning Objectives) due to metadata added to each textbox for optimal discoverability. However, the headings can be rewritten to better reflect the exact content added. You can always easily modify the font type, size, and colour.


Once you have found (or created) an openly-licensed image to add to your book, you add it via the Media Library. Make sure the image you have selected is either .jpg, .gif or .png.

Activity: Insert Image

  1. Find an openly-licensed image (e.g., on Unsplash) and save it to your computer
  2. Navigate to a Part or Chapter of the book and place your cursor where you would like the image to appear
  3. Click on “Add Media” within the Visual Editor
  4. Select “Upload Files” and choose the image from your computer (note the maximum file size within the eCampusOntario Pressbooks platform is 24MB)
  5. Complete the necessary fields for the “Attachment Details” (Alt Text, Title, Caption, Description), “Attributions” (Source URL, Author, Author URL, License, Adapted by, Adapted by URL)
  6. Determine and insert your preferences for the “Attachment Display Settings” (Alignment, Link to, Size)
  7. Click “Insert into Chapter”
  8. Save and preview

Another option to add an image that you have the URL for, is to select “Add Media” and “Insert from URL.” Keep in mind that this will hyperlink the image and does not give you the option to include information contained in the aforementioned “Attachment Details.” Also note that while it is best to edit your images before you upload them to your book, Pressbooks does offer limited editing capabilities.


If audio is stored within an online repository (e.g., Soundcloud), you can embed it by copying and pasting the URL into the Visual Editor. This will automatically embed the audio clip. If the audio is from a platform that does not allow oEmbed, it must be hyperlinked. It is important to ensure all of your media is accessible and audio is no different. The audio should have an accompanying visual of any words in the clip. If this is missing, you must supply a link to a transcript for individuals with disabilities to interact with it.

Activity: Add Audio

  1. Locate an audio clip on Soundcloud. You might want to use “Beats to Study To” from the Liberated Learner
  2. Copy the URL for the clip
  3. Navigate to a chapter within your My Sandbox book
  4. Place the cursor where you would like the audio clip to appear
  5. Paste, Save and Preview


Similar to audio, video that is stored within a dedicated streaming service that supports oEmbed like Youtube, Vimeo, etc. can be embedded into your book. Additionally, your videos must be appropriately captioned – the bare minimum being automatically generated captions, but ideally captions that are 100% accurate.

Activity: Add Video

  1. Copy the URL of a Youtube Video (find your own or you can use this one)
  2. Navigate to a chapter within your “My Sandbox” book and open for Editing
  3. Paste the URL where you want it to appear in the Visual Editor
  4. Save and Preview

Magically, you will see the URL you pasted replaced with the embedded video.

H5P Interactive Elements

The eCampusOntario hosted version of Pressbooks includes H5P, an open-source plugin which you can use to create interactive content and learning activities in your book. There are over 50 content types (and growing!) that you might consider integrating into your book to elevate the content.

While there is a separate module on H5P in the Train the Trainer suite, we’ll review the steps to activate and use the plugin to create H5P content within your resource. We encourage you to check out the H5P module for more advanced guidance on using and reusing H5P content developed globally, or within the eCampusOntario H5P Studio. Let’s try it out by creating a Multiple Choice H5P interaction as a knowledge check.

Activity: Add H5P

  1. Active the H5P Plugin through the Dashboard by clicking on “Plugin” and activating (a new “H5P Content” will now appear on your Dashboard Menu)
  2. Click “H5P Content → Add New” from the Dashboard Menu
  3. Click “I Consent, give me the Hub!” to enable the H5P interface
  4. Scroll down through the various Content Type options and click “Get” next to Multiple Choice
  5. Review the Content Demo (optional)
  6. Click “Install”
  7. Once Installation is complete, click “Use”
  8. Add a Title (note this does not appear on the interactive and is used for metadata). For this activity you can create your own, or use our example “Multiple Choice Question: Periodic Table”
  9. Add a Question – E.g., “How is the element Helium represented on the periodic table?”
  10. Enter options for the for answers. Note that the default is two options and you can click “Add Option” to expand the number of possible answers. E.g., enter “Hm”, “Hu”, “He”
  11. Click the box next to “Correct” for the “He” option
  12. Check out the possibilities and default selections for the “Tips and Feedback”, “Overall Feedback”, “Behavioural Settings” and “Text Overrides and Translations” – for the simplicity of this activity, we won’t adjust these.
  13. Scroll up and click “Create”
  14. Your new H5P interaction is now saved to your Library
  15. Insert it into any Chapter of your book by clicking on “Add H5P” (a new box next to “Add Media” in your Visual Editor) and selecting “Insert” next to the H5P you just created
  16. Save and Preview!

A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • You can always upload an existing H5P to your Pressbooks and contextualize it rather than starting from scratch
  • If you have cloned a book that includes H5P, unfortunately the H5P content does not copy over to the new version.

Other Pressbooks Tools

There are other features within the Visual Editor that you might want to explore that aren’t detailed in this section. They include tables, lists, glossary, and footnotes.

In addition to H5P, Pressbooks has optional plugins you also may want to activate depending on what is needed for your resource. We won’t go into great detail on these, but have included more advanced resources for you to consider.

Hypothesis: Hypothesis is an open-source web annotation tool which, when activated in Pressbooks, gives users the ability to annotate (publicly or privately). This can be a powerful teaching and learning activity for your readers, enabling open dialogue and engagement. It can also be used as part of the publishing process for editing and proofreading purposes. Find out more and see Hypothesis in action.

MathJax: MathJax is another open-source JavaScript display engine integrated into Pressbooks – providing you with a method for rendering LaTeX (mathematical markup) into web accessible equations. Learn more and see a demo of its use.

TablePress: TablePress is a plugin which gives you the power to create dynamic, iterative tables that can be sorted, filtered and searched within your resource. Here is further reading and an example.


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