CASE STUDIES are stories with an educational message. They have been used as parables and cautionary tales for centuries, yet their formal use in the science classroom is recent. So recent, in fact, that until the early 1990s the case study literature in science was virtually non-existent. This has begun to change as more and more faculty are realizing the inadequacies of the lecture method and are seeking novel methods of instruction. Enter the case study, a method imported from business, law, and medical schools.
Here we have listed articles, books, and bibliographies to the case study literature to give you a sample of recent attempts to introduce the case method into the science classroom and a glimpse of its potential as seen through the eyes of some of its most ardent advocates.
One of our goals is to build a community of case study teachers in science and engineering. Our directory lists all our case authors as well as case method practitioners (many of them trained by us) teaching in high school, community college, and university settings.
What happens in classes that use case study teaching? Do students learn more in case-based science courses? Are they able to make more connections among concepts? Can they apply these concepts to real-life situations? These are some of the questions we are exploring as we try to assess the case method and its impact.
How do you grade students in classes with case teaching? There are a host of possibilities. Here we deal with only a couple.