by Daryl Taylor
studies are examination, analysis and study of one problem or issue
through extended scenarios and examples. Their purpose
is the application of class topics and text concepts to real world
settings through the use of case studies.
- Students become the center
of the class activity
- The Instructor steps out
of the way to observe and assist
- Students become actors
- Students process and synthesize
topics and ideas
- Sparks a more open and
eased class environment
- Students develop presentation,
oral, interpersonal, and negotiation skills
- Students enjoy interacting
with each other.
Methods of Implementation:
Before the case study activity begins, a group activity should
be completed in order to get the class comfortable working in groups
and to assist the instructor in establishing group member roles and
expected group performance.
Objective - Learn name,
birthplace and favorite cartoon character of each member of your
- Divide class into
groups of four
- Have group appoint
a recorder to write down the information
- Have group appoint
a presenter to present the information to the class
- Have group appoint
a timer for the activity
- Set ten minutes for
duration of the activity
- Make sure class is
clear on the objectives
- Walk around the class
to observe the activity and answer questions.
- Students are more
familiar with one another
- A group activity has
- Basics of group member
roles are being set up
- Groups learn to perform
under time constraints.
Establish Group Activity:
- Ground Rules:
To reduce confusion, have the activity clearly defined
- Objective: State
the goal of the activity
- Outcome: State
the expected outcome of the activity
- Group size: Establish
- Duration: Establish
time duration of activity. The time may be a few minutes
of class, or a project of a few weeks
- Member Roles: Set
up the role responsibilities of the group members
- Availability: Be
available for student questions.
Group Size can
vary from the entire class to groups of two. The whole class
can have the objective of solving one problem during one class meeting.
I have found groups of 3-6 students perform best for case studies.
Larger groups allow some students to kick back and skate. Smaller
groups dont allow for good group dynamics.
For case activities
of longer duration, be aware of larger groups because there is a
risk of students dropping the class. Groups of 3 or 4 may work better.
can be used as a tool for experimenting with group diversity and
group homogeneity. It is interesting to see how groups of the same
gender, ethnicity, language, or culture approach problems as compared
to more diverse groups.
- Establish an all
male group, an all female group and some mixed groups to solve
- Observe the differences
in the responses from the various groups.
Group Member Responsibilities:
To assist in group member participation, it is wise to assign responsibilities
to members so they are more active and involved. Examples
of member roles:
- writes notes of activity
- draws/sketches ideas of group
- presents ideas of group to the class
- Timer -
observes time limits of assignment
- Leader -
directs and keeps group on task.
In order to keep the
interest of the class, some variations of the group activity should
be used. A few examples are:
- Have groups name
- Have groups reorganize
with different class members in order to observe changes in group
- Have groups take
opposite positions on a topic or case
- Have groups compete
to solve a problem
- Have groups work
on a case where each group must rely on another group to complete
the overall task
- Have groups attempt
to solve a case before concepts are studied, then compare
the group response after concepts are studied
- Based on established
criteria (i.e. member participation, creativity, visual aids,
answering points of the assignment, etc.), have group create a
quiz based on concepts of the case.
- Solve a problem
- Avoid a problem
- Design a new
- Compete with
- Critique a case
- Survive a hypothetical
- Become expert
in a concept or issue from a case
- The experts
then share this knowledge with the class
- Have case presentation
reviewed by classmates.
good cases. A dry, boring case can doom a well-planned case
activity. Look for the following:
- Big mistakes
loss or gain
- Survival stories
- Local, domestic,
- Current, or
Start with a simple
case so the class can get accustomed to the process of case
studies. Dont have too many facts because it becomes too
confusing, but you do need enough information to keep the group
interested. As you and the class become more comfortable
with the activity, increase the complexity of the cases.
Sources of Cases
A variety of sources
exist for case study information. A few areas are:
- Personal Experience
- Class Experience
- Campus Events
- Best selling Books
and other areas provide a rich resource for scenarios and cases
to use and adapt to your class.
I have found case studies
to be insightful, challenging, creative, fun and an effective learning
tool. Start simple for the class and your own learning development.
Understand that some students will see this as a way to skate by.
So challenge them to get involved. You can learn a lot about
your students from these exercises.
Some of your case study
projects can be of benefit to your students as they interview and
step into the real world. Share your case study experiences
with others in your division and around campus. These cases are interesting,
enlightening and motivating to others. Sometimes get in a group
and work on a case with your students. Challenge your students,
grow, learn and have fun.