How to teach a case

The case-based teaching method is a common teaching method in business education around the world. It is particularly well-rooted in the North American teaching tradition and often associated with Harvard University – pioneers of the case method and a leading case publisher. The method combines two elements: the case itself and the teaching of the case. I

A teaching case is a story designed to put practice into conversation with theory. Typically, it describes a situation in an organization where a decision has to be made about a particular dilemma, problem, or opportunity. To make the story interesting it often includes a dramatic element described from a protagonist’s point of view – the CEO or another senior person in the organization. A teaching case is not a “case study” of the type used in academic research. Teaching cases provide information, but provides neither analysis nor conclusions. A good teaching case supports multiple possible answers and learning objectives.

The analytical work of a case typically centers around four student tasks:

1) Recognize and explain the issue(s)
2) Identify and evaluate options
3) Propose and argue for a possible solution
4) Predict the effects of the actions

The role of the teacher is to facilitate a discussion and thus encourage students to analyze and reflect on the issue(s) from a protagonist, stakeholder, or consultant’s point of view. A case class could also involve interactive elements like role-plays, presentations, or case competitions.

Regardless of the form, teaching with cases is a great way to engage students in class and stimulate experience-based learning. Cases challenge students to work on real-life problems that are complex and ambiguous. The problems force students to use their skills in finding and using evidence, choosing which concepts, theories, and methods are relevant, and ignoring irrelevant information.

How to get started with case teaching: 

#1 Read the “The Case Study Handbook – A Student’s Guide”
William Ellet’s book introduces the reader to the use of case studies in management education, including how you can read, discuss, and write persuasively about cases.

#2 Attend a case-based teaching course
Learn the basics of case teaching or challenge your current case practice in the case-based teaching course by T&L. Sign up via the Course Catalogue.

#3 Use the Classic Case Collection
Find your next teaching case in the Case Centre’s Classic Case Collection with the top ten best-sellers in each subject category and the free case category.

If you would like further information on case teaching, please contact Martiina M Srkoc or 38154278. 

Teacher in a classroom with students sitting