Gale, a Cengage company, is helping college and university instructors develop and strengthen students’ critical thinking skills around contemporary social justice issues using historical content. Gale Case Studies, a new online instructional tool launched by the company today, provides faculty with teaching resources to help students critically analyze culturally relevant social justice issues through the lens of primary sources on topics such as LGBTQ+, race, political extremism and public health concerns. This new resource promotes the student growth of transferable, 21st century skills through an interdisciplinary approach that fosters the use of primary sources to interrogate social issues and develop inferences for the future. Read the Gale blog about why Gale Case Studies was created.

Organized by topic, each Gale Case Studies module consists of case studies created from a curated set of primary sources. The modules are interdisciplinary and can be used in history, gender studies, sociology, psychology, English or law courses to help students learn how social issues have evolved from people who have experienced the events first-hand. Through a complete case-based learning experience, students and instructors can access case studies, discussion questions and links to curated content in an online learning environment that’s designed with accessibility in mind.

View/download screenshots of Gale Case Studies, here.

What sets Gale Case Studies apart is its guided workflow that seamlessly integrates with learning management systems (LMS). This allows materials to be embedded into students’ learning experience without the need for a separate application, making it easier for instructors to align with course scope and sequence. The online format and wide range of content gives learners a destination to dive into topical issues, prepare for informed, course-related discussions and become more proficient at using primary sources for course projects and research papers.

With Gale Case Studies, librarians and faculty save time developing effective course activities by packaging the relevant primary source content with the case study. By modeling best practices for information literacy for novice researchers, students are able to develop inferences and practice their critical thinking skills with a focused set of primary sources before exploring larger research collections.

Intersectional LGBTQ Issues is the first module released today that offers a closer look at the history of the LGBTQ community and activism in the 20th and 21st centuries. It provides insight into both direct-action efforts such as ACT UP’s demonstration at the St. Patrick’s cathedral, as well as local activism aimed at reversing problematic policies such the anti-crossdressing laws and the lack of documentation about violence against LGBTQ people.

“Archives contain millions of documents which can be quite overwhelming, and sorting through all that material can be difficult and onerous. So, having these little case study snapshots can be a good starting place,” said Danielle DeMuth, Ph.D., associate professor at Grand Valley State University and the editor-in-chief of Intersectional LGBTQ Issues. “Gale Case Studies is an entry point into how important archives are, how we can use them, and how to be curious about what has happened in the past.”

Features and capabilities of Gale Case Studies include:

  • Curated Content: content is carefully chosen by an editor-in-chief and academic instructor who has thoroughly reviewed the case studies for accuracy and teachability.
  • LMS Integration: allows academic instructors to seamlessly upload content into their LMS, creating a streamlined learning experience for students who do not need to leave the LMS to find content. This also makes content compatible for remote teaching.
  • Guided Experience: students are guided through a workflow that models the process of analyzing a primary source beginning with the contextualization of a case study, then evaluates the relevance of curated primary sources, and ends with reflective study questions.
  • Focused Study Questions: discussion questions are provided at the end of the workflow to act as a prompt for students to critically analyze primary sources and topics.
  • Image Viewer: allows users to view the primary sources, such as images, hand-written letters or newspaper articles as they were originally published.

“It’s been said that ‘the past is never dead. It’s not even past.’ To understand today’s social issues, it helps to step back in time and see things from different perspectives. Gale Case Studies primary sources allow students and researchers to author their own interpretations of events past and present. By making comparisons and connections and engaging in dialogue, they can inspire cross-cultural awareness,” said Paul Gazzolo, senior vice president and general manager at Gale. “These rare and compelling primary sources and pedagogical tools are not only timely, but necessary for helping students construct new discourses and develop critical thinking skills.”

For more information or to request a trial, visit the Gale Case Studies webpage.

About Cengage and Gale

Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. The company serves the higher education, K-12, professional, library and workforce training markets worldwide. Gale, a Cengage company, provides libraries with original and curated content, as well as the modern research tools and technology that are crucial in connecting libraries to learning, and learners to libraries. For more than 60 years, Gale has partnered with libraries around the world to empower the discovery of knowledge and insights – where, when and how people need it. Gale has 500 employees globally with its main operations in Farmington Hills, Michigan. For more information, please visit www.gale.com.

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