Published: Nov. 2, 2010

Learning becomes fun and comprehensible with the integration of pictures and photos with texts. Pictures help provide tangible aspect to learning which texts alone cannot provide. Anne W. Costain, Director of Women and Gender Studies and professor at CU Boulder, is also fully aware of the importance of pictures in learning and teaching. And so, she has integrated pictures into her teaching materials. She said, “Copying images is a very clear advantage because frequently the law has its language.” “A language that sometimes the US Supreme Court writes easily understood English but more often they integrate legal terms and it can be challenging particularly for undergrad students to understand the impact of particular decisions,” she continued.

Professor Costain is teaching Gender Sexuality and US law this term. She realises the advantage of being able to scan text and with the help of those texts, bring their critical aspects into the classroom. “Integrating texts and pictures into teaching sometimes indicates a huge change in the social implications of what the court has said,” Costain said. “And being able to put that onscreen, and do textual analysis, contributes to the impact of the decision and the meaning of the decision for sex discrimination and sexual orientation,” she continued.

Professor Costain also added that the United States Supreme Court doesn’t allow any videotaping or even any photographs within the chamber of the court. With the help from ASSETT, she hopes to combine pictures of Justices and attorney who are speaking on the court, along with the questions that they might be asking. “Showing the pictures and playing some of the discussion will help people have a sense of emotions that are raised even among the judges in hearing these kinds of issues,” she said. “You don’t get to see the argument and the decision making in the same way without the pictures. So trying to bring that into the classroom will give people a stronger sense of both how difficult and how important some of these decisions are,” she continued.

A picture may or maybe speak a thousand words in all cases but in classes like the US Law and Gender Sexuality, integration of pictures with texts is an integral part of the learning process.

Professor Costain recently received an ASSETT Development Awards. This award will allow Professor Costain to copy images and texts and integrate that into teaching with the help of a scanner.