How to Teach with the Case Method

The basic requirements for a successful case teaching experience are:

  • an appropriate case
  • students who are prepared to engage with the material in a discussion
  • an instructor who knows the case, has a plan for the discussion, and is ready to deal with the unexpected

To be most effective, use of the case method should be embedded in the course syllabus, so that learning to learn in this way is one of the objectives of the course, and students have ample opportunity to practice their skills as case discussants. Going through the following steps, in order, will help you achieve that goal.

You may, however, want to try the method in a less committed way, perhaps because you have already found a case or because you think you can only fit one into your curriculum. This page can help you too -- just go directly to the page on preparing your students. I can't emphasize this enough -- the method can only be effective if the students are well-prepared not only for the material in the case, but for the type of discussion case teaching involves.