2010 Selected Presentations

The Flexibility of Case Methods (PPT presenation, 6.3 MB)
Margaret Waterman, Professor of Biology, Southeast Missouri State University, mwaterman@semo.edu

Case studies and problem-based learning (PBL) use stories that are meaningful and relevant to students as a way to engage learners in our disciplines. But how can we use these cases? In this session, participants will engage in a case analysis as a way to introduce how cases and PBL can be used. We will also consider how cases and PBL might be adapted to address curricular changes that are stimulated by changes in our disciplines. In the sciences, for example, NSF is calling for reforms that use “cyberlearning”—online resources and technologies for education and research. Another sort of change comes from the American Association of Medical Colleges, which is reforming the MCAT to emphasize the ability to apply knowledge. A third kind of change that case-based curricula might address comes from the National Research Council’s report Bio2010, an early call for increased levels of quantitative reasoning and enhanced student experiences with investigation.

Cyberlearning Resources for Case Study and PBL (MS Word document, 56 KB)
Margaret Waterman, Professor of Biology, Southeast Missouri State University, mwaterman@semo.edu

We are well aware that the Internet provides access to a nearly unimaginable treasure of resources for teaching. In this workshop, participants will be introduced to and will explore a wide variety of cyberlearning sources that can be linked to case studies and PBL problems. We will look at ways that case-based methodologies can set up and transition learners from lecture to case to lab or other inquiry. We will look at resources, such as Gapminder and Worldmapper, which are rich with data and offer ways to address issues affecting multiple disciplines. Participants will be invited to share some of their favorite internet “finds” and how they use them.

The Epistemology of Case Studies (PDF document, 158 KB)
Felicia Keesing, Associate Professor of Biology, Bard College, keesing@bard.edu

Epistemology is the study of knowledge and knowing. This may seem like an esoteric topic, but epistemological sophistication is both a fundamental goal of higher education and one that most students are failing to achieve. Can the use of case studies help? With sample case studies in hand, we will explore their potential role in increasing the epistemological sophistication of our students.

Using the Power of Stories to Engage Students from Under-represented Populations: The Native Cases Initiative (PPT presentation, 767 KB)
Barbara Leigh Smith, Senior Scholar, The Evergreen State College, SmithB@evergreen.edu

Culturally relevant case studies can be transformative in reaching and engaging students from under-represented populations. This session will briefly describe the Native Cases Project, a highly successful initiative focusing on writing and teaching Native cases and faculty development, and the impact that it is having on Native students and communities. There are many lessons from this initiative about using cases with other populations.

Science 2020: The Transformation of Science Education for Future Scientists and Citizens (PDF document, 962 KB)
Felicia Keesing, Associate Professor of Biology, Bard College, keesing@bard.edu

Ten years ago, the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering convened a multidisciplinary commission to examine how undergraduate education in biology should be transformed for the 21st century. The commission’s charge was to create a blueprint for the biology curriculum and for classroom pedagogy that would better equip future research biologists for the enormous challenges and opportunities presented by the -omics era. Their report, Bio 2010, was an influential prescription for change. Now, in 2010, we need a new prescription for a new decade. I will sketch the foundations of Science 2020—a blueprint to prepare not just future research biologists, but also future citizens.

Using “Mini” Cases (PPT presentation, 360 KB)
Phil Stephens, Professor of Biology, Villanova University, phil.stephens@villanova.edu

I use “mini-cases,” or scenarios, in my courses. These are intentionally brief cases designed to be used in lecture, each one taking up no more than five minutes of class time. I use them in part to break up a lecture, but also to encourage student participation and, more particularly, to get students to apply what we have just covered in lecture to a real world problem or scenario. In this session, examples of mini-cases will be provided and, as part of the session, participants will design a mini-case of their own.

Using History to Teach Nature of Science: The Case of Christiaan Eijkman (PDF document, 29 KB)
Douglas Allchin, Fellow, Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science / Instructor, History of Science and Technology, University of Minnesota, allch001@umn.edu

In this session, participants will participate in a case study as students, engaging the problem of the cause of beriberi, which ultimately led Christiaan Eijkman to a Nobel Prize. We will then discuss the experience from the perspectives of both students and teachers, probing the way in which nature-of-science lessons are designed and delivered. Finally, we will survey a handful of similar cases in biology and other fields.

The Beginner’s Guide to Using Case Studies in a High School Science Course (PPTX presentation, 77 KB)
Donna Horn, Director of Science and Health, Rush-Henrietta Central School, dmhorn@rhnet.org

High school science courses are highly standards-based, and typically conclude with a high-stakes cumulative exam needed for graduation. At the same time, we want our high school graduates to be creative problem solvers, with a deep understanding of scientific concepts and the ability to apply these concepts in an ever-changing world. In this session, we will examine how case studies can be used to help you accomplish all of these goals in your classroom. As part of this, practical strategies for choosing a case study based on learning outcomes and linking assessment and learning will be shared. (Additional handouts in MS Word format: Case Study Analysis Guide and Formative Assessment Classroom Technique, FACTs.)

Incorporating Abnormal or Erroneous Data into Case Studies (PPT presentation, 1 MB)
Phil Stephens, Professor of Biology, Villanova University, phil.stephens@villanova.edu

This session will explore ways in which abnormal or erroneous data and information can be incorporated into cases to encourage students to think critically. Participants will design their own activity and leave the workshop with usable content.

A Practical Approach to Interrupted Case-Based Learning for High School Students (PDF document, 2.6 MB)
Kathy Hoppe, Science Support, K-12 Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES, khoppe@monroe2boces.org

Case-based lessons for high school students involve connecting to the learner and engaging them in content standards required at both the state and national level. This is an essential part of high school instruction. In this session, participants will learn about the process of integrating a case that combines the gathering, synthesis, and application of information by students. You will take on the student role and at the same time gain an understanding of how to “coach” and facilitate the lesson, giving the students control of their own learning. The sample case we will be using is interrupted by three separate labs/activities and a literacy strategy, and is correlated to the New York State core curriculum for Living Environment, which is based on National Standards for Biology. Through action research and professional practice it has been demonstrated that this method not only improves motivation and interest, but also has led to increased performance on Regents Exams. (Additional handout in PDF format: Who’s the Daddy?, 1.1 MB)