The case method of teaching requires a heavy investment of instructor energy and planning. The student must commit as well. Of various approaches to secure student participation, this author favors a unique “agreement commitment.” A commitment session follows the introductory lecture at which instructor and student sign the agreement simultaneously at the podium to emphasize the seriousness of the commitment.
The instructor assigns the case and competency materials. The instructor may use one or more approaches to prepare for class. He or she may utilize the case teaching note (TN) accompanying the case as a supplemental source. The TN provides a case summary, statements of objectives, teaching suggestions, and discussion questions with suggested answers. Some instructors consult with colleagues for additional perspectives. Student preparation for case discussion may involve either writing an analysis that follows an instructor prescribed format or responding to assigned questions. Small group discussion preceding the formal class session is encouraged to obtain multiple views and develop student interest in the case specifics.
Competency materials may be reviewed by the instructor using the traditional lecture method. Students are expected to raise questions regarding the readings. The case analysis part of the session emphasizes participation, led by the instructor, who acts as facilitator and explorer of the case analysis rather than master and expert. An optional epilogue can provide closure.
Following the class session, the instructor evaluates student contributions either by reviewing the students’ written recommendations or simply assigning a point score to their contributions. Separately, the instructor also should evaluate materials and update teaching notes. To derive full benefit from the case method, students should exchange their analyses with colleagues and identify how major course concepts applied to the case.
If it is possible to video tape the classroom interaction, they could be used in a follow-up session to provide feedback to students on their performance. Students get an opportunity to watch themselves perform in front of the class and could learn from that experience.