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Keywords: 3D model, sketchfab, embed, digital object, text editor, media  

What Is It?

Embedding 3D models adds interactive content to Moodle courses. This mini-guide is specific to the iframe HTML embedding offered by Sketchfab, an external platform hosting 3D models that can be viewed, shared, freely downloaded or purchased on their website, or embedded on other websites or platforms such as Moodle. For more information on embedding content within Moodle’s Atto text editor, please see M02b - Embed video, audio and other media. 

Why Use It?

Depending on its type, 3D models can facilitate object-based teaching and learning, provide access to digitally rendered objects in museum and teaching collections, serve as examples of assessments or works in progress, and can even be incorporated into Moodle activities such as quizzes.  

Who Can Embed 3D Models?

  • Course Administrators 

  • Tutors 

  • Other roles permitted to use the Atto text editor 

    * Any publicly accessible model on Sketchfab can be embedded on other platforms such as Moodle without having a Sketchfab account. Models on Sketchfab saved as ‘Private’ can also be embedded if the course administrator or tutor has access to the Sketchfab url link to that model. Password protected models will require both the url and the password.  

    Please note that only those with Sketchfab premium accounts can add and edit 3D models on Sketchfab.com with privacy or password restrictions. 

Who Can View 3D Models?

  • Any user with access to the Moodle course page will be able to view embedded 3D models with the exception of models set up on Sketchfab with password protection. In such cases, each Moodle user will need to enter the associated password to access the model.  

Before I Start...

  • Consider how a 3D model can be utilised for the benefit of students within the Moodle course.
  • Find a publicly available model on Sketchfab or upload with a Sketchfab account.
  • Review Sketchfab's instructions for copying their iframe HTML.
  • Consider alternative ways for those with accessibility challenges to be able to access content such as by the inclusion of descriptive text.

Meeting the Baseline

The UCL Connected Learning Baseline suggests the following for Structure:

  • 1.1 Present activities and resources in a meaningful, clearly structured and sequenced way - e.g. chronologically or by theme. Typically each Moodle section represents a topic, which may cover one or more weeks of study.
    • Use headings - Use Section Headings for each topic area and heading styles within labels, books and pages to maintain consistency across sections and help students see where they are.
    • Clearly group and label items within a section - Bring together common elements, use labels to provide common sub-headings across sections to help students navigate.

The Resources category indicates that you should:

  • 5.1 Use descriptive titles for all items and consider displaying the item's description on the course homepage, as this helps students understand the purpose of the activity or resource.
  • 5.4 Check resources - Regularly fix or remove broken hyperlinks (URLs) and check that all resources are up-to-date before releasing these to students.

The Accessibility category suggests that you:

  • 7.1 Provide accessible learning resources such as clear labelling and alternative text with descriptive information about each 3D model.

How Do I Set One Up?

Please begin with Sketchfab's instructions for copying and embedding their iframe HTML. The steps below provide an overview of the process within the Moodle course page.

  1. Navigate to your Moodle course and Turn editing on.
  2. Click Add an activity or resource in the desired section of your course.
  3. Set a Name for the activity or resource.
  4. Click on the <\> icon in the Atto text editor.
  5. Paste the iframe HTML copied from Sketchfab for the desired 3D model into the text editor.
  6. Configure the remaining options for the activity or resource. 
  7. Click Save and display.
  8. The 3D model will appear with a triangle 'play' icon. Click to initiate interactivity with the model. 


 For those with Sketchfab accounts:

If you are embedding a model you uploaded to Sketchfab then be sure to deselect the 'hide' options when copying from the embed menu if you want to make the model inspector, annotations, and other information about the 3D model available to students when accessing via Moodle.

Caution

As with other forms of interactive media, embedded 3D models may not be accessible to all users such as those using screen readers. Course administrators and tutors should consider other methods of making such content available including through the addition of textual descriptions for the models.  

Examples and Case Studies

3D Model uploaded to Sketchfab by UCL Archaeology South-East:


More examples and case studies coming soon.

Questions & Answers

This section will be updated as questions arise. Please email digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk with questions related to embedding, viewing and using 3D models in Moodle. For questions about Sketchfab and their services, please visit their Sketchfab help centre 

Further Information

See also M02b - Embed video, audio and other media. 





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