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Karen K. Bernd
Professor
kabernd@davidson.edu
Department of Biology
Davidson College
Let's Get This Course Started: Modeling the Case Study Method

The first day of class is often a reading of the syllabus, even when active learning approaches are used throughout the rest of the term. This interrupted case uses the first day to model the expectations of a course that uses case method approaches. Students are immediately involved in defining the broad topic of the course and experiencing how the course will be structured. The syllabus is discussed but only after the students develop definitions for key areas of the discipline, reflect on their learning goals and gain context for the type of readings and assignments found within the document. Designed for an undergraduate introduction to environmental health course, the case can be adapted to courses at any level and topic by substituting terms that are fundamental to your course's focus. The case is provided as a simple PowerPoint file whose use is explained in the teaching notes, but technology is not a requirement. Note cards are used to provide students and instructors with a snapshot of student perceptions before and after they have completed the 75-minute class period.