Goals & Objectives:
Several goals ... Allow the application of theoretical concepts. Develop
group work and problem solving abilities. Information gathering and analysis.
Time management. Presentation skills. Develop higher order decision making
During and after performing the Case Study activity, students will...
- Assess the appropriate action in the given situation,
- Generalize patterns within cases,
- Develop a theory concerning the cause of a given case,
- Identify the components of a given case,
- Summarize a case,
- Categorize a case within a given system,
...as determined by successfully attending to 80% of rubric items.
Students will need access to the case to be studied. They will also need
any prior knowledge needed to synthesize case items.
Materials and Resources:
The instructor will provide any necessary details of the case(s) and the
Guiding Questions for this Lesson:
The guiding question will depend on the purpose of the case-based instruction
as shown under goals and objectives above. As an example: How well
can the student(s) adapt to the given situation and provide a plausible solution,
circumvention, explanation, or resolution?
Lesson Outline and Procedure:
Two outlines are presented here. The first is for the development of a new
case study. The second is for the use of pre-existing case-based instruction.
A. Case Study
- The instructor usually begins with an overview of the case study method
and how it is carried out. In an advanced class that specifically plans
to use this as a major course project, this instruction may last several
weeks to a course specifically on case study and nothing else.
- At some point, the students are presented the case study project. Often,
this would be early in the term. This will include any specific requirements
for the assignment such as length, specific questions that must be addressed,
participant versus non-participant studies, etc. The case study itself
can be limited by issues on which it should focus, a demographic determinant,
a historical time frame, or any number of instructor determined factors.
The instructor can select or allow student self-selection of a study topic.
Usually, the student selection should be verified by the instructor to
insure that the student understands what a valid case is.
- The students then conduct the necessary observation and/or analysis of
their cases. In some cases, approval an internal review board may be required.
- The students then write a report of their case addressing assignment
- The final studies may be opened to peer review following instructor analysis
to make sure that the case study is appropriate for the wider student audience.
B. Case-Based Instruction
- The instructor presents a given case to the students.
- The instructor guides students
to focus on important aspects of the case, recall relative cases already
discussed in the class or wider media, and reach conclusions that address
- The assessment may be as simple as the discussion participation to a
paper outlining key points from a given unit of cases presented in class.
- Usually done individually in an online class, it can also be done as
a group assignment, which can be made more effective by then comparing
across a group of similar or different cases.
- Be sure that the students come upon an understanding of all of the contextual
factors in the given case. Be prepared with a list of such factors following
- Choose cases that in some ways intersect so that students can easily
draw similarities among the cases studied by other students so as to connect
- In some cases, the instructor may be able to utilize a completely fabricated
case to study. However, these should be carefully tested with a colleague
prior to student exposure. If an entirely hypothetical situation is utilized
for which the students must provide an analysis, see the OTAI activity
called hypothetical situations.
What accommodations may be needed for students with disabilities or other
special needs? The primary accommodation for this exercise may involve access
to the case to be studied.
For a new case study, at least two weeks will be needed for a very basic
case analysis to 8 weeks for a more developed analysis. Case-Based Instruction
can take place in a single session to one week of asynchronous instruction.
Ideas for Lesson Evaluation and Teacher Reflection:
How did the students like the lesson? End of semester evaluations should
ask about the usefulness and learning accomplished through such activities.
Also, the conversation that occurs during the activity will help guage how
the students are enjoying various aspects and whether they are learning and/or
Questions the instructor shoudld ask when evaluating the lesson include:
Were the students engaged in efficiently processing the case-based information?
What skills did they excell at or lack? How might the activity be presented
alternatively in future courses to be more effective?
How was student learning verified? Participation can be assessed in discussion
sessions. A rubric can also be set up to help guage the quality of final
For more information on assessing case-based instruction, see the
National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science at the University
at Buffalo and the College of Education at Michigan State University site
on Assessing case-based instruction. Retrieved February 1, 2007,
Useful References: (in no way an all-inclusive list)
- Block, K. K. (1996). The case method in modern educational psychology
texts. Teaching & Teacher Education, 12(5), 483-500.
- Davis, C., & Wilcock, E. (2006). Teaching materials
using case studies. York, United Kingdom: UK Centre for Materials
Education, The Higher Education Academy. Retrieved January 8, 2007,
- Educational Technologies at Virginia Tech. (2006). Case-based teaching.
Blacksburg, VI: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Retrieved
January 8, 2007, from http://www.edtech.vt.edu/edtech/id/models/casebased.html
- Elksnin, L. K. (1998). Use of the case method
of instruction in special education teacher preparation programs: A
preliminary investigation. Teacher
Education and Special Education, 21(2), pp. 95-108.
- Ertmer, P. A., Newby, T. J., & MacDougall, M. (1996). Students' responses
and approaches to case-based instruction : The role of reflective
Educational Research Journal, 33(3). pp. 3-4.
- Harrington, H. L. (199 1). The case as method. Action
in Teacher Education, 12 (4), pp. 1 -10.
- Kleinfeld, 1 (1990). Creating cases on your own. Department
of Education, Rural College, University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
- National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, (2005). Case method teaching.
Buffalo, CO: University of Buffalo. Retrieved January 8, 2007, from http://ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/projects/cases/teaching/teaching.html
- Stepich, D. A., Ertmer, P. A., & Lane, M. M. (2001, September). Problem-solving
in a case-based course: Strategies for facilitating coached expertise. Educational
Technology Research and Development, 49(3). pp. 53-67.
- Williams, S. M. (1992). Putting case-based instruction into context:
Examples from legal and medical education. Journal of the Learning
Sciences, 2(4). p. 367-427.
- Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership
- Yahoo Groups - eCASE
- The Case Association, http://www.caseweb.org/
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