OERcamp global 2021: “H5P!? The very basics”

Just some notes for my “H5P!? The very basics” session at OERcamp global 2021. Don’t expect all of this to be self-explanatory if you come across it by chance 😀

What can I do with H5P?

H5P is a free and openly licensed software with the goal to enable you to easily create, share and reuse interactive content in your browser. Pretty abstract? Then a good way to learn what you can do with H5P is to have a look at all the examples on the H5P community website.

Here’s one:

Why is H5P so “special”?

H5P is no silver bullet! It has its downsides, too! But, phew, there’s much to like. This will just be a non-exhausting list of bullet points:

  • The software H5P is free and even openly sourced.
  • H5P is easy to use without the need to write code.
  • H5P content can be used in a browser without installing special software.
  • H5P content can be shared across different web platforms, via files or embedding.
  • H5P allows to attach licensing information to the content.
  • H5P can be translated by the community.
  • H5P strives to be accessible (WCAG 2.1 AA).
  • H5P uses open standards which make it easy to customize and extend.
  • H5P allows to write new custom content types.
  • H5P development can be tracked 🙂

How can I run H5P?

Very short question and no simple answer, because there are so many ways that you can run H5P! I’ll just list the most common, but there are even more!

Install an H5P plugin on your on website

This is currently the most common way to use H5P: You have a website that already hosts a platform which can integrate H5P using a dedicated plugin. In the special case of moodle, the latest versions even have H5P built-in (works a little different, but well). You’ll have full control, all your content will be stored on your website, you can learn what your users are doing, and you can even customize the behavior of H5P including the visual design. And yet H5P is free.

Run H5P on someone else’s website

If you are lucky, then there’s someone who allows you to create and share H5P content on their site. Quite some schools and universities have a platform that runs H5P – or at least could. Just ask your local IT support staff.

There may also be public sites that you can use H5P on for free, e.g. https://apps.zum.de in Germany. Those may come with some restrictions, however. For instance, on apps.zum.de you may only use openly licensed media for your content, and you are obliged to license your content openly as well. Also, you cannot embed your H5P content onto other websites if it’s hosted on apps.zum.de.

Use H5P.com

H5P.com is a commercial service built around the free H5P software. Using H5P.com is not free however and is rather targeting larger organizations, not individuals. You need to pay, but in return you don’t need to take care of hosting your content on the web, you get personal support, and you also get some exclusive features such as live engagement tools. Good to know: Using the so called LTI interface, you can seamlessly integrate H5P into platforms such as Canvas, Brightspace or Blackboard. Also, H5P.com is what ultimately funds the development of the open source software H5P that is free, so it’s definitely not something that one should condemn (some people do to my surprise). You can try out H5P.com for free for 30 days which is a good way to get to learn how H5P works even if you then decide not to use it.

Use Lumi

Thanks to H5P being open source software, the company Lumi has built an equally openly sourced desktop application for Windows, MacOS and Linux that you can use to create and run H5P content. It’s also called Lumi. You can save H5P files and share them as you like (via cloud storage, website, email, pen drive, …) and others can use and reuse them on any H5P enabled platform – including Lumi itself, of course. Lumi also comes with some other handly features, e.g. exporting H5P content to single HTML files or SCORM packages.

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