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Assessing the Case for Teaching

Did the case work? Faculty need to reflect on their own practice. Not only is investigative case based learning just one of many excellent approaches you may use in your classroom, but some cases work better than others. It is helpful to assess teaching with investigative cases by answering questions about how well specific objectives were met and by considering class interactions. You may find the Faculty Assessment Form for Investigative Cases (Microsoft Word 29kB Aug20 03)a good way to get started.

Note: If you are considering adopting and adapting an existing case, there are some questions below to help you make a decision.

Some questions to ask once the case has been used:

  • How well does the case work as a learning tool with students?
  • What were stumbling blocks for the students?
  • Were the students led "down the wrong path" by anything in the case?
  • Was the time allotted for case study adequate?
  • Were the students able to generate questions that they could investigate?
  • Was there a problem with the questions? (too vague, difficult, long)
  • Did student discussion generally address the objectives of the case? Were there any other important objectives that should be included?
  • Were the students able to locate useful additional resources? Were the resource materials and readings useful?
  • How well did the case study fit with other elements of the course (lectures, labs, discussions, recitations)?
  • What worked especially well?

If you are reviewing an existing case for use in your course, consider the following:

  • What is the case about?
  • What are some of the potential learning issues I want to address with the case?
  • Are the issues central enough to the case for me to use this case?
  • Can I easily modify the case?
  • How difficult or obscure are the issues in the case?
  • Will these be issues my students will care about?
  • Is the case open-ended enough for students to go beyond fact finding?
  • What do I see as possible areas for investigation?
  • What product might I ask students to produce?
  • Is the case too short or too long for the time I have available?
  • What sorts of learning resources might be needed for this case? Are they accessible?
  • If I use this case, what lectures/labs/discussions might I want to change, add or eliminate?

  • Note: This kind of analysis may be a great starting place for writing your own cases.