Depth of learning. When examining student use of resources, we found that many of the research-based case studies led students to derive all their information from the Internet. Whilst this is a valuable resource we feel that it can often result in only surface learning. We have found that one way of addressing this is to specify to students that we are expecting critical analysis in their work. Including a practical component is also a useful way of achieving more in-depth study (see case study example 3). Ensuring that there is progression of learning skills development (e.g. analysis to synthesis etc.) when using a series of case studies is important, rather than repetition of the same skills.
Case study mark allocation. We have had to consider how many credits/marks should be allocated to our case studies. We have found that some students have spent quite a lot of time carrying out independent research yet felt that they have not received enough credit. Greater guidance was required as to how the marks were allocated.
In a short training course a presentation by the author, perhaps with supporting visual aids, is a really good way of providing practical examples of the theory or techniques that are being covered. The presentation can be followed by questions and answers to give the class a chance to clarify and enhance understanding. This might be a free-for-all or more carefully structured with the presenter asking questions designed to focus participants on particular aspects of the problem evoked in the case. In a longer course it might be possible to get the class to read through the case study for themselves before participating in discussion.
The aim of the case study exercise is not a training in participatory methodologies but aims at getting participants actively involved in the learning process so that they become aware of some of the difficulties of design and implementation of public participation in practice. Conceived as a problem-solving exercise, the idea is to develop tools that enable participants to work in small groups with the assistance of a moderator. The case leaders propose a set of tasks to be performed by participants using the support materials and create the conditions for a rich interaction on each case. The support material for each case study should be provided in advance.
Another possibility is to provide the class with only part of the case study and to get members of the class to act out a scenario. For example, a meeting where the archivist or records manager had to convince other stakeholders of the need for a course of action or provision of funding. The students should be asked to present the individual concerns and point of view of the various protagonists. A variation on this approach is to give some of the details to the class and get them to ask questions to get the full picture.
For each case study the user will find a description of the organisation which ran the real life project and prepared the case study. Each case study represents one way how to tackle a problem according to the constraints and conditions. The user will get guidance how to use the materials and where and what it was produced for. Limits of applicability will be described. The users manual for each case study will also describe how it can be applied in a learning situation and how to work with ID card or working material. It will include the initial presentation held during the workshop if available and applicable, as well as outcomes in reality, support material and pedagogical support such as guiding questions.
Case studies can provide the basis of individual or group assignments. The student or group of students is given a case study and asked to write an analysis and any recommendations that seem appropriate. If the students need help in getting started, a SWOT analysis can be very effective — the trainer can provide a list of questions around the four elements (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), or the students can use the schema as a basis for their own analysis.
It should be acknowledged that styles and modes of learning vary from student to student. Our case studies are predominantly coursework-based; however, this style of work may not be suited to everyone. Some students may work more efficiently in a formal and time-constrained setting, such as an examination, and although this may not be the better mode of learning, it is one to which they have become thoroughly accustomed to at school. One way in which we have tackled this, in some of our case studies, is to have both coursework and exam assessment on the case study content. Provided that a balance in learning styles is maintained in the overall course then the students are able to develop a range of skills and no student should be unfairly disadvantaged compared to another. Group working may also not be suited to all students. Our feedback on group work has shown that this presented a particular problem for some students. Most students recognise its importance for developing key skills, but many commented on the uneven workload within their groups. Comments included;
Case studies are a substitute for student placements in the workplace if the course of study cannot allow for this. For this reason, they are particularly useful in a short training course. They also provide realistic simulations of the kinds of real life experiences students can expect when they practice for themselves. For students who are pursuing on-the-job training, case studies can offer alternative experiences, approaches and solutions which will broaden the students’ knowledge and skills.
Phenomenological case study dissertation proposal Emma Day Additional incentives of US and US per SS case were given in Central Java and Yogyakarta respectively once the case is cured
In response to this feedback, we developed a way of tackling the issue of uneven workload. We piloted formal group sessions with the lecturer in one of our case studies (see case study example 3 for details). Student feedback was positive and we feel that this has gone part way to helping the students. Positive comments made included:
The case study model was first tested in a workshop in Dresden 2006 and then revised for a second workshop 2007 in Procida (Naples), Italy. Before being offered to an international audience the model of case studies learning and teaching was tested successfully with students in London (Westminster University) and in Paris (Sciences Po and EHESS).