Using Case Studies to Teach Science--A Workshop
CLYDE FREEMAN HERREID, University at Buffalo/SUNY, National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science
June 19-21, 2008 in Midtown Manhattan, NY
Case studies have been used to teach students in law and business schools for over a hundred years. These cases are stories with an educational message. Case study instruction has been used in medicine under the terminology of Problem Based Learning where each patient is a case to be diagnosed and treated. The value of the case approach in the classroom is that it puts the subject matter in context rather than presenting the material as a series of isolated facts and abstract principles. When information is put into story form it is easier to learn and remember. It has particular appeal for students put off by science taught in the traditional lecture style.
The purpose of the Case Study Workshop is to teach faculty about the different types of case study methods of instruction along with their strengths and weaknesses, how to teach with case studies, and how to write cases and teaching notes so that other individuals can use them This is a highly interactive workshop where participants experience case study teaching from the student's viewpoint first and then write their own cases which they can take home and use in their classes. An independent survey of several hundred faculty who have attended our case study workshops indicates that virtually all instructors report higher student satisfaction with this method of presentation compared to traditional lecture method, as well as greater student attendance, and higher grades.
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