2018 Conference Program


Friday, September 21, 2018


8AM – 9AM


9AM – 9:15AM

Welcoming Remarks
Nancy Schiller and Clyde (Kipp) Herreid, Directors, National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

9:15AM – 10:15AM


End of Lecture: The Future of Evidence-Based Teaching
Mary Pat Wenderoth
, Principal Lecturer, Department of Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

We recently published a meta-analysis of 225 papers that compared student performance under active learning versus lecturing in undergraduate courses across the STEM disciplines. The results indicate that, on average, students are 1.5 times more likely to fail when being lectured to as compared to taking the same course with an active learning component, and that active learning increases exam scores by almost half a standard deviation.  In this plenary presentation, I will summarize the research results that provide robust data on teaching methods that increase student achievement. We will discuss how even small changes can close the gap between our teaching and student learning; closing that gap has tremendous implications for all students, but especially those from underserved groups. We will also take a look at a new classroom observation tool we have developed at UW called PORTAAL (Practical Observation Rubric to Assess Active Learning). PORTAAL identifies key elements of an active learning classroom associated with enhanced student learning. The teaching methods found to be most effective in helping students are based on results from cognitive and learning sciences and rely heavily on the “Testing Effect” and “Desirable Difficulties.” 

10:15AM – 10:30AM


10:30AM – 12PM


Track A: What Is a Case? / Different Types of Cases
Kipp Herreid, Director, National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Business and law schools have a long tradition of using real or simulated stories, or cases, to teach students about their fields. The case method has been effective in capturing the imagination and attention of students in medicine, psychology, and teacher education as well. The formal use of case studies in the science classroom is still relatively new, however. Yet cases have great pedagogical potential, not only for teaching scientific methodology, ethics, and the relationship of scientists to society, but also for delivering content-rich courses. In this workshop, we will cover the elements of a case study, the different forms cases can take, and the many different ways of teaching them.

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Track B: Designing Case Studies for Use in Large Lecture Courses with Diverse Enrollments  
Ashley Rhodes, Teaching Associate Professor, Division of Biology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS

Case studies can be powerful tools for increasing comprehension and retention of difficult material within STEM courses.  However, the impact and benefit provided by this form of active learning can vary substantially based on specific student characteristics, such as prior knowledge about the subject, approach to learning new material, and amount of mental effort put forth to understand the information.  In smaller courses, these different student characteristics are easier to facilitate and mitigate; however, in large lecture courses with enrollments exceeding two hundred or more, this becomes a complicating factor and can often discourage instructors from using case studies.  In this interactive workshop, I will present ideas for gauging the types of learners you have in your courses and how to design case studies in a way that reaches a larger, more diverse audience typically found in large introductory and intermediate STEM courses. 

Note:  Participants need to bring an internet ready device to this workshop; laptops are preferable.

12PM – 1PM


1PM – 2:30PM


Track A: The Discussion Case Method
Kipp Herreid, Director, National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Business and law schools have for many years taught cases by way of the discussion method. Discussion cases are typically written as dilemmas that give the history of an individual, institution, organization, or community facing a problem that must be solved. The teacher's goal is to help students analyze the problem and consider possible solutions and their consequences. On the surface of it, the method is simple: the instructor asks probing questions and the students analyze the problem presented in the story with probity and brilliance. Most science teachers, however, have little or no experience running this type of a class. In this session, you will have the opportunity to participate in a discussion case and then analyze the process of teaching it.

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Track B: HHMI BioInteractive: What's the Story There?
Annie Prud’homme-Genereux, Vice-President, Science, TELUS World of Science – Edmonton, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and Melissa Csikari, Program Officer, Science Education, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Both HHMI BioInteractive and the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science believe in the importance of storytelling to increase student engagement and learning. This workshop will highlight three very different storylines with concepts covered in introductory biology to demonstrate effective ways to pair together resources developed by HHMI and NCCSTS. In the session, participants will explore the materials (a variety of different resource types from HHMI and selected cases from NCCSTS) as learners and then reflect on them as educators to determine the best way to incorporate them into their courses.

2:30PM – 2:45PM


2:45PM – 4:15PM


Track A:  Filling Your Case Study Toolkit: Tips, Tricks and Tools for Teaching Using Cases
Annie Prud’homme-Genereux, Vice-President, Science, TELUS World of Science – Edmonton, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Whether you are a seasoned case study teacher or are just getting started, you are probably seeking tools that you can use to manage the case study classroom more effectively. This session will familiarize you with some of the most useful strategies I have accumulated for teaching with cases. You will experience, and we will discuss, strategies for forming student teams and managing them effectively as well as ways of ensuring that students take responsibility for their learning and do their homework ahead of a case.  You will have the opportunity to play with some free and fun technology you can use to pool student feedback anonymously and you will become familiar with a set of resources you can use to formulate questions that supplement a case and confront students with their misconceptions. I accumulated and selected these resources over 15 years; save yourself years of searching and experience them all in 90 minutes!

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Track B: Getting the Directed Method to Work for You
James Hewlett, Professor, Science & Technology Department, Finger Lakes Community College, Canandaigua, NY

The typical directed case study includes an engaging story accompanied by a set of “directed” questions that can be answered from classroom and lecture materials.  Most questions are “closed-ended” (i.e., typically they have only one correct answer).  Students prepare answers to the questions and report out as part of the class discussion or as part of an out-of-class assignment (or both). In this session, you will explore how a typical directed case is constructed and delivered in a classroom setting. We will then explore how this method can be modified to accomplish specific classroom goals. For example, when properly constructed, a directed case can be used to simulate a process (scientific method), expose misconceptions, and challenge a student’s ability to think critically. Examples will be provided from an introductory anatomy and physiology course.

5:30PM – 7PM


7PM – 8PM



Saturday, September 22, 2018


8AM – 8:30AM


8:30AM – 10:00AM


Track A: The Interrupted Case Method
Kipp Herreid, Director, National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

In the interrupted case method, students are given a problem (a case study) to work on in stages in small groups. After the groups are given a short time to discuss the initial information they receive, the instructor provides additional information to analyze, apply, and discuss. This sequence is repeated several times as the problem gets closer to resolution. One of the great virtues of the method is the way it mimics how real scientists go about their work. Scientists do not have all of the facts at once; they get them piecemeal. This method of “progressive disclosure” is also characteristic of problem-based learning (PBL), but in the interrupted case method the case typically is accomplished in a single class period rather than over several days. In this workshop, you will participate in an interrupted case study and then analyze the experience.

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Track B:  The Role Play Method of Case Study Practice
Patrick Field, Associate Professor, School of Natural Sciences, Kean University, Union, NJ

The role play method of case study practice combines the typical narratives of case study with the simulation of role play. Participants are given a complex scientific problem within the case study, assigned one of the stakeholders (characters) in the case study, and then interact with other stakeholders to either solve the issue(s) presented or come to a consensus. The role play type of case study is typically problem-driven and open-ended. There is not a single solution; rather, the complexity of the problem typically fosters multiple outcomes. In this workshop, participants will actively role-play within a historical case study involving intraoperative awareness.

10:00AM – 10:15AM


10:15AM – 11:45PM


Track A:  How to Write a Case
Kipp Herreid, Director, National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Finding a topic isn't difficult. Cases can be used to teach almost any topic, from mitosis to nuclear fission. The challenge is how to craft a case study so that it achieves your teaching objectives while providing students with a compelling story that is relevant and thought-provoking. In this workshop, we will provide you with a recipe for writing successful cases. Join us and leave the workshop with a rough draft of a case for one of your own courses.

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Track B: Case Studies in Analytical Chemistry: Preparing the Next Generation of Scientists in Problem-Solving
Troy Wood, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Employers have increasingly called upon universities to train their students so that they will possess a broad skill set that is directly applicable to their chosen profession.  Industries that employ chemistry graduates seek candidates who possess strong analytical reasoning skills, are facile at interpreting experimental data, can apply their chemical knowledge broadly, and have the ability to address problems that might not have an easily identifiable solution.  Problem-solving case studies in analytical chemistry is an approach that can address some training in these critical areas. Your session leader has recently launched a new electronic textbook, Analytical Chemistry, that includes case studies in analytical chemistry in each chapter.  Samples from some of these case studies and others in the field and their application to fostering problem-solving skills will be presented.

11:45PM – 12:45PM


12:45PM – 2:15PM


Track A: Writing Your First Journal Case Study
Annie Prud’homme-Genereux, Vice-President, Science, TELUS World of Science – Edmonton, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Research papers are stories that recount the heroic journey taken by scientists in their quest for hidden treasures. We often use these tales to transmit our scientific culture and to inspire our apprentices. Using these stories is a good idea, but the articles themselves may not be the best way to encourage students to become the heroes of tomorrow’s stories. For one thing, research papers are infused with secret language and refer to the use of magical tools unfamiliar to a novice. The heroes of the stories are presented as successful, wise, and all-knowing, leaving apprentices with little confidence that they could have done as well. Perhaps most importantly, a journal article is presented as a continuous narrative and doesn’t give students the opportunity to pause and consider the path they would have taken when faced with a similar quest. Nor does it give them a chance to make hypotheses, design experiments, and predict and critique results. In short, a journal article does not give students the opportunity to practice the skills of thinking like a scientist. Converting a journal article into a case study solves this problem. This workshop will take you through the steps of writing a journal case study. This is appropriate for first-time case writers.

Note: You must bring a research paper that you would like to convert into a case study.Not all articles are suitable for conversion to a journal case. Bring an article that has straightforward methods, and one for which a student could be expected to predict the results if given the hypothesis and methods. You should know this article well and preferably have done some background research about it (Who are the authors? What was their context? Why did they choose to research this topic? Where did they do the work, with whom, and when?) Basically, you should know who, what, when, where, why, and how.

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Track B:  Using PORTAAL to Assess Active Learning in Your Classroom and Bloom’s Taxonomy to Assess the Academic Challenge Level of Your Exams
Mary Pat Wenderoth, Principal Lecturer, Department of Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

As an alternative to traditional student evaluations of teaching and collegial review forms, my colleague Dr. Sarah Eddy and I have developed an evidence-based tool that instructors can use to determine how much and what kind of active learning they are doing in their classroom.  Each of the elements in PORTAAL (Practical Observation Rubric to Assess Active Learning) has been shown in the peer-reviewed literature to improve student learning. We have used PORTAAL to review 27 different instructors in our intro biology series and see a wide range of PORTAAL profiles.  In this workshop session, you will learn how to use PORTAAL to assess the types and amount of active learning in your classroom. You will also learn how to use PORTAAL as a guide for introducing active learning activities in your classes.  We will also spend some time in this session learning how to assess the academic challenge level of your exams using Bloom’s Taxonomy.  See http://www.lifescied.org/content/14/2/ar23.full.pdf+html and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2592046/

2:15PM – 2:30PM


2:30PM – 4:00PM


Track A: Scaffolding Role-Play and Deliberative Dialogue for Authentic Assessment
Katayoun Chamany, Mohn Family Professor of Natural Sciences and Mathematics / Associate Professor of Biology, Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, The New School, New York, NY

In this session, participants will be introduced to practical tools designed to promote student learning and assessment of specific learning outcomes through role-play.  I will share a scaffolding technique that explores content through in-depth investigation while achieving breadth through deliberative dialogue using a case study centered on human egg procurement for embryonic stem cell research. This technique showcases how democracies acknowledge pluralism and negotiate different value systems in social policy making.  By assigning students specific character roles and facilitating structured dialogues, they achieve a more sophisticated understanding of the challenge, and move from binary to nuanced positions and shift their interest from situational to personal, promoting long-term learning retention. For more on this subject, see the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement http://ncsce.net/ and a recent publication on this project authored by the session leader at https://brock.scholarsportal.info/journals/SSJ/article/view/1426.

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Track B: Integrating the Case Study Method with Undergraduate Research Experiences
James Hewlett, Professor, Science & Technology Department, Finger Lakes Community College, Canandaigua, NY

Several recent national reports have recommended that, as part of comprehensive educational reform efforts, students are provided opportunities to engage in novel research during the first two years of their undergraduate education. One of the publicized concerns is that students need time to develop both the process thinking and research skills necessary to be effective researchers. The Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) developed a model where the research experience can be scaffolded over two years with the use of the case study method. In the introductory freshman science courses, case studies introduce students to the process of science and help prepare them for their undergraduate research experience.  Traditional cookbook laboratory activities are replaced by activities that are connected to the case and expose students to contemporary research methods. This session will introduce you to the model using examples from CCURI partner institutions.