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ThingLink is an interactive content creation tool that can be used to add rich media to graphics and videos. With ThingLink, faculty can create images with embedded links to text, video (found or created), audio, photos, websites, maps, polls, or social media. ThingLink collects data on hovers, clicks, and time spent on each hotspot.

When to use?

Faculty can use ThingLink as an alternative to creating a video or assigning another reading. It’s just one more way to convey a message! Keep in mind that, like any complex image, ThingLinks require a textual equivalent. This transcript should include a description of the image and any included text.


In MALIT 405: Conceptions of the Body in Renaissance Literature, the development team annotated an art historical image to describe key symbolic components.


Figure with his hand on the corpse. This is the anatomist Andreas Vesalius, author of the De Humanis Corporis Fabrica. Notice that he is the only figure in the image who gazes out at the audience, as if inviting us into the anatomy theater to learn alongside him what the dissection will reveal.

  1. The opened body cavity of the corpse. Vesalius has peeled back the abdominal wall to reveal the uterus, which lies at the very center of the series of concentric circles created by the benches of the dissection theater. The implication is that the womb is, symbolically, at the center of the human universe: it is from there that we all emerge into the drama of life and death.
  2. The monkey in the left foreground. This monkey, along with the dog on the right side of the image, is often thought to represent the animal vivisection that was displaced and replaced by Vesalius’s practice of human dissection.
  3. The dog in the right foreground. This dog, along with the monkey on the left side of the image, is often thought to represent the animal vivisection that was displaced and replaced by Vesalius’s practice of human dissection.
  4. Two human figures underneath the dissection table. These two figures, squabbling over surgical instruments, represent the pre-Vesalian dissectors. Prior to Vesalius, the surgeon stood watch over public dissections, while menials did the actual cutting. By performing dissections himself, Vesalius dignified the labor of empirical anatomical research.
  5. Wooden benches. The arrangement of the benches in concentric circles makes the anatomical theater look either like a classical amphitheater, which emphasizes the theatrical nature of the spectacle of dissection, or like Christian temples built on the classical model (see Sawday p. 70). These temples were in part constructed according to the proportions of the human body, as revealed in the diagram of the “Vitruvian Man” (see image carousel).
  6. Slashed sleeve of figure on right-hand side, toward the top of the group of people. The slashed sleeve of this young man’s arm seems to be attracting considerable attention from the other onlookers. A fashionable style for the period, the slashed sleeve also seems to suggest wounded flesh, a reminder that with the advent of public dissections, we are invited to look under the skin and into the body.
  7. Robed figure on the front right, with the long beard. This classically garbed figure represents the ancient medical authorities, such as Aristotle and Galen, whose claims about human anatomy, unchallenged for centuries, are about to be revolutionized by Vesalius’s discoveries.
  8. Naked figure on the upper left. This naked man is often interpreted as a figure for surface anatomy, also known as superficial anatomy or visual anatomy: the study of the exterior of the human body, its proportions, and its topography--i.e., anatomy that can be performed without dissection. In classical art, surface anatomy was the basis for depictions of the human form.
  9. Skeleton elevated over the corpse. This skeleton uses its staff to gesture to the exposed womb of the cadaver on the dissection table. It functions as a memento mori, a reminder that even at the moment when we emerge from the womb, we are headed toward death. As Sawday quotes, in Latin, “Nascentes morimur”: we are born to die.

In MUSEUM 372: Learning and Museums, the development team created an interactive activity that asked students to emulate the experience of finding their way into museums.


The Art Institute of Chicago is shown from above, as if by a drone. There are eight nodes representing potential entrances to the building placed around it. Review the descriptions of the nodes and make your best guess as to whether or not you can enter the building there.

  1. A snowy ramp in the park, leading up toward the skyline. So, can you get in? Yes, you can follow this ramp to the third floor restaurant and roof garden.
  2. A row of glass doors with a square, spiky facade. So, can you get in? Yes, you can enter the museum through the Modern Wing entrance.
  3. A single broad door with a large sign reading, “The Art Institute of Chicago.” A scaffold covers the left side of the building. So, can you get in? No, this is a loading dock, not an entrance to the museum.
  4. Stairs leading up to three arched doorways. There is a triangular pediment at the top of the building. So, can you get in? Yes, you can enter the museum through the main entrance on Michigan Avenue.
  5. A colonnade with five pillars and tall windows between each pillar. So, can you get in? No, you cannot enter the museum here.
  6. A ramp leading up to two wide swing doors. So, can you get in? No, this is a loading dock, not an entrance to the museum.
  7. A courtyard with trees. Three columns supporting a deep overhang with glass doors. So, can you get in? No, this entrance leads only to the School of the Art Institute, and does not access the museum.
  8. Six pairs of double doors behind a courtyard with trees. So, can you get in? No, the public used to be able to enter the museum here, but now it is reserved for school groups only.

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