At the beginning of 2017, Sciences Po’s teachers were invited to reply to a survey concerning the use they do of images during their teachings. The answers show that images are largely used in class materials. This massive use highlights the need to make images the object of analysis in their own rights. Yet, interestingly, the answers to the survey show that such critical training is still too rarely given to the students, or even absent. These results plead in favor of a better inclusion of the analysis in the programs.
The use of different media in a pedagogical context to ease the memorization and understanding of information is an old process. And it is generally accepted that the combination of text and image can improve significantly the process of learning.
The creation and use of supports, which integrate texts, images and music are largely used in the field of education, in part thanks to the help ENT (Environment of Numerical Work) have brought to the teaching communities, so that today a vast majority of professors takes advantage of multimedia to accompany the students in gaining knowledge, know-how and know-how-to-be.
In France, the rule of fair (educational) use regulates the use of media (images, visual arts, videos, books, reviews, music) by the teaching communities (updated the 26/09/2016 for four years).
This exception holds for the use of educational documents in class, the numerical diffusion via ENT to the learners, the creation of (competitive) exams as well as the use of documents for teaching activities, the training of researchers and professors or research activities.
The table below proposes a summary of the applicable conditions.
|In class||Via an ENT|
|Books||Entirely||Extracts of a “reasonable dimension”|
|Handbooks||Extracts (4 consecutive pages, or 10% maximum)|
|Printed reviews||Entirety||Extracts of a “reasonable dimension”|
|Images / Visual arts||Entirety||Entirety is possible (20 images by document, maximum)|
|Videos||Extracts (6 minutes or 10% maximum)|
|Registered music||Entirety is possible||30 seconds maximum|
|Written music /||Extracts (3 consecutive pages or 10% maximum)|
Co-piloted by the DES and DRIS, a survey has been conducted beginning 2017 in order to identify the use that teachers make of image in their class materials and to fulfill potential service or accompanying needs in the use made of images.
The survey was composed of 13 questions, composing the following themes:
Launched at the beginning of 2017, the survey was sent to 2794 persons, among which 277 teachers have responded (a bit less than 10%). Answers have been made anonymous, while still making available a posteriori analysis via the Banner software (age, gender, status, discipline, program and campus).
We observe that the average age of the answerer is slightly higher than the reference sample, that women are overrepresented, like foreign languages teachers. The most represented disciplines are: humanities, political science and communication.
On the different themes of the survey, the following results are observed.
If we had to summarize in one sentence the results of the survey, we could write: “every students of Sciences Po use all sorts of images during their course, in the respect of the fair use exception”. But a result of the survey seems to deserve some attention: almost teachers use images to evaluate students, very few introduce in class a genuine training to the analysis of images in the media. The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is nevertheless misleading. Many researches in semiology, cognitive psychology and education science highlight that images are not univocal and that their mature understanding rely on a rigorous and detailed analysis. This observation must lead to improved efforts to support the students towards a better mastering of images, “of their operatory modes, of their significations, of their impact and their symbolic register” (C. Pichon-Bonin).
Véronique DUBOIS-BOUCHET (Phd), Pedagogical engineer, Active Pedagogy Lab, Studies and Pedagogical Innovation Division, Sciences Po, Caroline MAUFROID, Iconographist, Library, Scientific Information and Resources Department, Sciences Po, Cécile TOUITOU, Head of the Marketing mission, Library, Scientific Information and Resources Department, Sciences Po.