The Journal on Excellence in College Teaching
The Journal on Excellence in College Teaching

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Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, Volume 13, Numbers 2 and 3 (2002)

Articles in this issue:

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PDF fileThe Case Method -- A Joint Venture in Learning: A Message From the Editor

Rosenthal, D. W.

The case method, at its core, is a shared effort in education. It relies upon the active participation of a host of contributors in a union established to achieve a community result greater than that which could be attained by individual effort. At many levels it is a joint venture among subjects, researchers, teachers, and students. As in all joint ventures, the most successful are those that enable all participants to benefit from the association and to learn from each other. This special issue is literally a joint venture. It is published jointly by Miami University's Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, the North American Case Research Association's (NACRA) Case Research Journal, and the Society for Case Research's (SCR) Business Case Journal. The reviewers for the articles included in this issue came from the ranks of NACRA and SCR, and I had the great privilege of acting as Guest Editor in addition to my role as current Editor of the Case Research Journal. The publication of a special issue on the case method reflects growth in the use of active learning techniques, of which the case method is a subset. Problem-based learning (PBL) has been increasingly embraced in higher education, and the case method may be viewed as a subset of that approach to learning as well. Indeed, all of the articles in this issue share the common theme that active learning in general, and the case method specifically, provides extraordinary benefits over traditional methods of instruction. The articles also seem to say that in each of the diverse fields covered in them, there is a trend toward greater use of the case method, despite the difficulties, constraints, and pitfalls inherent in the process.

PDF fileInitiating and Maintaining Meaningful Case Discussions: Maximizing the Potential of Case-Based Instruction

Ertmer, P. A., & Stepich, D. A.

Discussion plays a key role in the amount and kind of learning that results from case-based instruction. The role of the instructor is critical in facilitating meaningful case discussions. Unfortunately, many educators are not trained to use discussion as an effective teaching tool, and few guidelines are available for those who wish to begin using these tools. Based on their experiences teaching both undergraduate and graduate instructional design students as well as an analysis of students' use of specific problem-solving skills, the authors describe four key discussion strategies that they have found effective in supporting students' learning in a case-based course.

PDF fileIntroducing Problem-Based Learning Into Quantitative Analysis: A Primer Guide and Literature Review

Seaberry, J.

The author evaluates the implementation of a problem-based learning (PBL)-based case as a new pedagogical approach to teaching science courses at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. After writing an original problem-based case, paired professors/researchers teaching Quantitative Chemistry introduced the case study method to sophomore classes of science majors. In small-group format, the students worked on the case, which exposed them to the concept of cooperative learning communities and culminated with a written report/solution and an in-class presentation. The author reviews the literature utilizing this pedagogical approach in the teaching of college science courses, discusses implementation strategies for using problem-based cases, and analyzes students' reactions to this method. Feedback evaluations provide the opportunity for students unfamiliar with PBL to critique this approach to learning as well as give their impressions of its effectiveness. The author considers the utility and applicability of problem-based cases to the teaching of other undergraduate chemistry courses.

PDF fileBreathing Life Into the Case Study Approach: Active Learning in an Introductory Natural Resource Management Class

Habron, G., & Dann, S.

The authors describe the pedagogical theory, practical applications, and results of an innovative effort to realign a first-year course. The course seeks to foster students' engagement in learning new information while developing critical-thinking skills. The course's holistic approach includes three increasingly complex case studies in both lecture and laboratory format. The case studies incorporate guest speakers, Internet resources, cooperative learning, and in-class simulations within a consistent framework. The authors argue that the increasing complexity and variation of the kinds of case study problems stimulates students' critical thinking by challenging them to apply newly learned concepts in different contexts.

PDF fileUsing Web-Based Software With Case Studies in Nurse Practitioner Education

Savrin, C.

The author discusses the use of Web-based software with case studies to enhance the learning of graduate nursing students. Case study is a time-honored approach to teaching clinical decision making because the discovery method employed in case studies is effective in advancing knowledge. Retention of knowledge using this method is superior to that using the didactic, or lecture, method. Several different Web-based case study techniques have been used in the nursing program at the author's institution, which is highly Web-based. Case studies presented by faculty and students have been employed. Students' responses to both Web-based and case-based instruction generally have been favorable.

PDF fileSupporting Case Method Discussions With Groupware: Opportunities and Pitfalls

Tyran, C. K.

Although it is a popular teaching approach, the case method can be challenging to implement. It can be difficult, in particular, to ensure effective student participation and interaction during the discussion of cases. The author investigates the opportunities and pitfalls associated with using groupware technology -- computer-mediated support for collaboration -- to support case discussions in the college classroom. In his study, groupware appeared to improve students' participation by reducing problems with the group process that may occur during case discussions. However, the study also raised issues that need to be addressed. The implications of the study's findings for practice and research are discussed.

PDF fileDiversity and the Case Leader: Linguistic, Cultural, Psychological, and Contextual Insights

Jackson, J.

At the heart of the case method is the full-class discussion, which is intended to help students develop their interpersonal, analytical, and decision-making skills. Based on personal experience and the observation of other case leaders in North America and Hong Kong, the author offers insight into the case facilitation process in settings where students may be reticent. In particular, she reviews the complex linguistic, cultural, psychological, and environmental factors that may impact non-native English-speaking students' participation in discussions that take place in English, their second language. Suggestions are made for ways to facilitate more interactive, culture-sensitive discussions.

PDF fileIntegrated Performance Reviews in the Cumulative Case Study: Promoting Continued Learning Among Students

Knowlton, D. S., & Sharp, D. C.

The authors argue for broadening assessment of students' efforts in cumulative case studies -- example cases that typically are ill-structured and require students to consider a broad problem from various perspectives -- beyond traditional tests and summative papers. Reviews of students' performance should be integrated throughout the span of a cumulative case study and should involve formal self-review and peer review in addition to reviews by the instructor. These broad and integrated reviews will promote continued learning among students.

PDF fileTraining New College Professors to Teach More Effectively: What Role Does the Case Method Play?

Ross, R. H., & Headley, E. L.

The authors present the results of a study of the approaches being used by U.S. doctoral programs in business to prepare their graduates to teach at the college level. The specific issues they investigated include whether a course (or courses) in effective teaching is required in the school's doctoral program and, if so, whether this coursework deals with active-learning techniques such as cases. Results of the study indicate that most doctoral programs are providing students with formal training in how to teach and that, at the majority of schools responding, this training involves active-learning approaches.

PDF fileCase Research, Writing and Teaching: The Unbroken Circle

Naumes, W., Merenda, M., & Naumes, M.

Case writing in business and academic settings has been used primarily as a pedagogical technique to help students understand administrative practices in real-world settings. This same technique, however, can be effective for developing as well as testing theory. Case-based research typically is not translated into case writing and teaching, other than through its impact on theory. The authors propose that trainers, researchers, and teachers should participate in case-writing activities to understand as well as teach more effectively the concepts of administrative disciplines. In this manner, they may connect the duties that comprise their profession, their research, and their teaching.

Editorial Staff, Editorial Board, and Reviewers for this issue:


Milton D. Cox, Miami University

Executive Editor:

Laurie Richlin, Claremont Graduate University

Managing Editor:

Gregg W. Wentzell, Miami University

Editorial Board:

William Berg, Miami University

Nancy Chism, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

Peter Doolittle, Virginia Polytechnic State University

Sharon Hollander, Georgian Court College

Sherry Howie, California State University - San Bernardino

Craig Nelson, Indiana University

Douglas Robertson, Eastern Kentucky University

Brenda Smith, York Science Park

Randy Swing, Brevard College

Theodore Wagenaar, Miami University

Maryellen Weimer, Berks Lehigh Valley College of Pennsylvania State University

Todd Zakrajsek, Central Michigan University

Guest Reviewers:

A. J. Almaney, DePaul University

Claire Anderson, Norfolk, VA

Robert Anderson, College of Charleston

William Andrews, Stetson University

Joyce Beggs, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

W. Blaker Bolling, Marshall University

Lew Brown, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

James Camerius, Northern Michigan University

James Carroll, Bridgewater, NJ

Roy Cook, Fort Lewis College

Christopher Coyne, St. Joseph's University

Steven Dawson, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Dean Dudley, East Charleston, IL

Timothy Edlund, Baltimore, MD

Richard Eisenbeis, University of Southern Colorado

Deborah Ettington, Eastern Michigan University

Jack Ferner, Wake Forest University

Martha Fransson, West Hartford, CT

Armand Gilinsky, Sonoma State University

David Glascoff, Denver, CO

Lynda Goulet, Cedar Falls, IA

Peter Goulet, Cedar Falls, IA

Walter Greene, Edinburg, TX

Thomas Hawk, Frostburg State University

Fred Hebein, California State University San Bernardino

Janelle Heineke, Boston University

George Johnson, Idaho State University

Ed Leonard, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

Thomas Lyon, Leawood, KS

John Mahon, Boston University

Thomas Miller, University of Memphis

Rebecca Morris, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Margaret Naumes, University of New Hampshire

William Naumes, University of New Hampshire

Robert Orwig, Macon, GA

Asbjorn Osland, George Fox University

Elinor Rahm, Warrensburg, MO

Robert Service, Samford University

Ronnie Stephens, Warrensburg, MO

William Stratton, Pocatella, ID

Jeff Totten, Bemidji State University

John Venable, Samford University

Michael Welsh, University of South Carolina

Jan Zahrly, University of North Dakota