Case study teaching method

Read more: Cliff, W. This type of case presents a problem for students to solve in a progressive disclosure format, with the case given to students in parts to work on in small groups and complete within a single class period. Students develop hypotheses and design experiments to test them, which they then present for the class to critique, after which the instructor gives students information on how the actual authors of the paper tackled the problem.

The instructor then reveals the actual data, which students interpret. This format allows students to practice the scientific method — from question formulation to hypothesis testing, experimental design, and data analysis and interpretation.

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The case is presented in class using a series of PowerPoint slides in parts, or stages. In this way, students work their way through the material to understand and also usually solve the problem presented in the case. Specifically designed for use in large introductory science classes, the method integrates lecture material, case storylines, student discussion, clicker questions, clarification of the answers to those questions, more lecture, and data.

Examples of clicker cases include: Cross-Dressing or Crossing-Over?


  • Teaching Materials Using Case Studies.
  • Case method;
  • Teaching Materials Using Case Studies!
  • Associated Data!
  • What is Teaching with the Case Method?.

A "flipped case" is a case study that has been designed to be used in a flipped classroom context in which students learn the basics at home by watching short interactive videos and then apply these principles in class to the case in order to learn the material in depth. Read more: Herreid, C.

Laboratory-based cases or cases with a lab component place laboratory experiments in a setting that make them both more relevant and engaging for students. Many require that students design a laboratory approach that can be used to solve the problem. A well designed lab case typically 1 tells a story that is interesting and relevant to students, 2 poses a challenging problem for students to solve experimentally, 3 allows students to work in teams to design their own approach to solving the experimental problem, with minimal guidance from the instructor, and 4 requires a report written in a narrative format.

PBL is a teaching method in which students work cooperatively in small groups to find solutions to problems. The focus is on having students identify the learning issues associated with a problem themselves.

Teaching grade 5 life science with a case study approach

The case is given out piecemeal, typically over several class periods. In the classical form, small groups of students usually meet with a tutor facilitator to solve the problem, which they are introduced to through a short narrative or research paper, video clip, etc. Together they try to identify the broad nature of the problem the learning issues , defining what they know as well as what they do not know and need to find out. They then divide up the list of questions they have generated and search for answers.

At a second meeting, students pool their findings in their groups and try to resolve the problems identified earlier. At this point, the tutor may provide additional information test results, experiments, new data, etc. Students refine the problem, divide up the workload, and adjourn to collect more information. At a third meeting, information is pooled and often a report is written. The discussion method for teaching a case has long been used by business and law schools. Students are usually presented with decision or analysis cases.

On the surface, the method is simple: the instructor asks probing questions and students analyze the problem. The instructor may question students using a strong directive and iterative approach, often called the Socratic Method. Others may use a nondirective approach to class discussion, staying on the sidelines and acting more as a facilitator while the students take over the analysis. Seasoned case discussion teachers advocate directive but not dominating questioning, good blackboard work to highlight the essential issues, and a summary at the end to bring closure to the case.

A debate format is well suited for many types of cases where two diametrically opposed views are evident. A good format for the debate is to follow the procedure of moot court competition. Two teams of students each prepare written briefs on both sides of the issue and are prepared to argue either side. Just before the debate, they flip a coin to see which side they must argue. The debate itself starts with the pro side presenting for a prescribed period of time, usually 5 minutes.

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Then a person representing the con side speaks for 5 minutes. There is a 5-minute rebuttal by a second speaker on the pro side, followed by a 5-minute rebuttal on the con side. This is then followed by 3-minute summaries by each side. In a classroom setting where some members of the class are not participating in the debate, it is valuable to permit questions from the audience and ask them to evaluate the content and presentation of the debate.

Dilemma/Decision Case

Intimate debate is a powerful technique for dealing with case topics that involve controversy. Basically, two pairs of students face off across a small table, arguing first one side and then switching to argue the other side. At the end of the exercise, they must abandon their artificial positions and try to come to a consensus as to what is a reasonable solution to the problem being debated.

Students' comments include:. Otherwise you can feel like you're just doing something for the sake of it. When you do a case study you go out and find information that is being used in real life. In our experience, an important factor in the introduction of case studies into a course is the style or structure of the course itself.

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We offer a number of separate courses in our department and have recognised that they fall into two distinct types defined here as Type I and Type II. Type I courses are the traditional Materials Science and Engineering degrees which are accredited by the Engineering Council and can lead onto Chartered Engineer status. These courses are not accredited and take students with a wider range of background skills, varied academic qualifications and different career aspirations. Overall, we have found it easier to introduce case studies into our Type II courses and therefore these courses contain a greater proportion of this type of learning.

A summary of the differences between these courses is given in Table 2. Table 2. Differences between traditional, established Materials Science and Engineering degree courses Type I courses and the newer often multidisciplinary Materials related courses Type II courses. There are a number of ways to develop case studies, some more successful than others. The following list covers the main methods and also discusses other options and experiences external to our institution.

How to Prepare for Case Method Teaching

We have found the case-based approach to be a useful method to develop transferable skills. Key skills we have embedded into our case studies include:. Our case studies encourage learning of both course content and key skills, and careful consideration needs to be made as to how to assess these different aspects. The two main modes of assessment are formative assessment for the purpose of improving learning and student performance and summative evaluation of student performance against a set of predetermined standards.

We use summative assessment to assess the students' understanding of course content, yet realise that a more formative approach is necessary for evaluating key skills development and giving feedback to encourage students to reflect upon their learning experience. Group assessment is another area we have had to consider, as many of our case studies are group-based.

Learning to collaborate is a useful skill and the ability to produce a group output is an important part of this. It should be acknowledged that styles and modes of learning vary from student to student. Our case studies are predominantly coursework-based; however, this style of work may not be suited to everyone. Some students may work more efficiently in a formal and time-constrained setting, such as an examination, and although this may not be the better mode of learning, it is one to which they have become thoroughly accustomed to at school.

One way in which we have tackled this, in some of our case studies, is to have both coursework and exam assessment on the case study content. Provided that a balance in learning styles is maintained in the overall course then the students are able to develop a range of skills and no student should be unfairly disadvantaged compared to another.

Using Case Studies to Teach » Center for Teaching & Learning | Boston University

Group working may also not be suited to all students. Our feedback on group work has shown that this presented a particular problem for some students. Most students recognise its importance for developing key skills, but many commented on the uneven workload within their groups. Comments included;. I work well in a team and am quite a good organiser, but tend to do too much of the work. In response to this feedback, we developed a way of tackling the issue of uneven workload. We piloted formal group sessions with the lecturer in one of our case studies see case study example 3 for details.

Student feedback was positive and we feel that this has gone part way to helping the students.

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