For Students, Faculty, and Staff: MyU One Stop


Families Illustrated was created about 2005 in response to shared interest among family education professionals about using popular media to teach about family concepts. As a long (make that LONG) time film buff,  I enjoyed finding vivid examples in film and TV shows of family life, couple communication, parent-child relationships, single parenting and more that brought concepts to life for students. Inevitably, in conversation with other professionals, I’d hear, ‘Great idea! This is the film that I use to teach that.” Or “Have you ever seen ….? My students loved that when we covered ….”

In 2007, with my friend (Associate Professor at Northern Iowa University) Mike Fleming and grad student (now MA, Licensed Family Therapist) Jen Fairbourn , we conducted a workshop at the NCFR conference on teaching about family with film. In preparation for that workshop, we generated hundreds of teaching ideas into a database. The workshop was popular, and of course generated more of the ‘you know what I use in my class is ….‘ discussions.

So, I thought, why not use the Internet for a search and share database? And used my pretty limited technology knowledge and even more limited financial resources to put something together. But as a fun project that wasn’t really part of my job description as a faculty member and collaborative online tools in early stages, it languished.

Until 2014! Better technology and human resources on my side, the reconnection with scholarship and practice on teaching with media (that expanded to podcasts and streaming video) and the continued conversations with colleagues, kicked Families Illustrated back into gear.

And so here we are. FI is an online site for you to look for teaching ideas, and to share them. So when you think, “this was a GREAT way for my students to learn about ….” add it to the database. Just click the contribution form. Remember, the more we share, the bigger the database.

The blog will also be a regular feature – a way for us to have conversation about concepts brought to life through popular media. New films, old TV shows, what’s streaming on Netflix, where to find resources.

Thank you for your interest in Families Illustrated. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions (though keep in mind this is still a zero-dollar budget project). The email address is

Susan Walker