The ability to interpret information from any source, and increasingly visual sources, is a vital skill for all graduates in contemporary culture. The development of the skills to read visual texts and communicate that understanding requires a certain level of critical thinking and reflection, skills which can only be developed over time, through practice and dialogue. This paper reflects on the evaluation of two websites. These resources support students in two units of study which aim, amongst other things, to develop visual literacy and critical thinking skills using the functional systemic concepts developed by Kress and van Leeuwen (1990, 1996). The challenge for the authors was to create two online resources for distance students that exemplified the theory itself and scaffolded learning as students developed their own level of skills in this area.