Volume 1: Reimagining Remote Teaching, Issue 4
Case studies are effective and engaging small group activities. Faculty should use case studies in their virtual classrooms because they allow students to showcase their understanding, engage with real-world situations, and practice problem-solving skills in a safe environment. Additionally, case studies allow our students to practice workplace readiness skills: collaborative teamwork, professional communication, critical analysis, and self-confidence to take initiative.
Believe it or not, case studies are not overly complicated to write. They are typically 3 - 6 sentences in length and have 3 primary parts. The first part is identifying the person and a brief description of the employee's job function. The second part is a description of the problem the employee is facing. And finally, the remainder of the case study is what you need to problem solve.
Here are a few examples:
Rob is a mechanic at A,B,C Auto Shop. An elderly woman shows up for her service appointment. All she can describe to you is that she hears a weird noise when she drives the car. Considering all you know about diagnostics to date; how can you best help your customer feel comfortable while also working to find out what is going on with her car? What steps should you take? How will you properly diagnose the siltation?
Mrs. Miller’s NG tube is draining yellow-brown drainage. Her pain is being managed effectively with IV morphine 4mg every for hours. Mrs. Miller is anxious and has many questions for the nurse: “What is the test I am having done today? What is pancreatitis? Will I need to have surgery? Why did they put this tube in my nose? When will I be able to eat real food?” Considering all you know about pancreatitis to date, answer the following questions: Briefly explain acute pancreatitis to Mrs. Miller, the diagnostic tests which will be performed, treatment options, and why Mrs. Miller has an NG tube. Additionally, make sure you discuss complications which can arise if her condition is not treated.
Matt has been asked to create at least one set of directions for new employees at his office. All these instructions will be included in a new HR Manual. The topics provided by the HR department include how to use vacation and/or sick time, how to make suggestions to management, how to work effectively in small groups, and how to access your email / how to send a professional email. Using the skills we have practiced to date on how to write a process paper, chose one of the topics above and write a set of directions to include in the new-hire manual.
Your directors are mainly interested in which variables have the most affect on (a) the market value and (b) the gross sales of food outlet they might open. They would also like to know how the gross sales affect the market value of the establishment. Ignoring the results of previous normality tests for each of the three types of outlet: a) Find the Pearson's correlation coefficient between the market value and any other continuous variables which you think may influence it. For the most significant association found, calculate the goodness of fit and state the regression equations. b) Find the Pearson's correlation coefficient between the gross sales and any other continuous variables which you think may influence gross sales. For the most significant association found, calculate the goodness of fit and state the regression equations. c) Find the Pearson's correlation coefficient between the market value and gross sales. If significant, calculate the goodness of fit, the regression equation and carry out residual analysis.
Your community is doing a “living history” experiment to help engage younger children to learn about our country’s history. In turn, your company has been assigned to explain the chain of events which led up the Revolutionary War. Your specific work team has been tasked with providing an interesting, and equally educational, way to explain how the colonies (Northern, Middle, Southern) and their characteristics, led to events which resulted in the American Revolution. When exploring your content, make sure you address the following questions: Were there any major riots started in your colonies? If so, please describe the riots. Are the riots well known? Were the riots a major contributor to the beginning of the American Revolution? What were the main industries of your colonies? In what ways were the tied back to Great Britain? Were the industries tied to any other countries? How did these colonies work together with other colonies during the American Revolutionary War era? What creative way can you share this information with our younger community members?
You have just received a service call from Generic Company. They provided you with the following information about their situation. Description of Facility: 40,000 square foot office building Description of HVAC System: Variable air volume system (two primary air handlers and 20 VAV boxes). Heating provided by natural gas boiler. Chilled water provided by an air-cooled chiller. Direct digital control system.
Energy Conservation Measures
Installation of variable frequency drives on primary air handlers, heating water pumps, and chilled water pumps. Modifications made to boiler and chiller sequence of controls. Economizer damper repairs. Improvements to boiler and chiller control sequences, setpoints, and schedules. The charts below compare baseline energy consumption to post-HVAC System Optimization energy consumption:
Building Energy Performance
The table below shows the energy savings as estimated in the HVAC System Optimization Report, dated February 23, 2009, compared to the actual savings realized during the first year of operation following implementation of the Energy Conservation Measures described above.
After reviewing this data, prepare a plan of recommendations for Generic Company to improve System Optimization and how you would go about providing this service.
Knowing where to start when writing a case study is usually one of the biggest challenges. Fortunately, you have your textbook to help you out. Many times, your textbook will even provide you with case studies. When they do not, they have questions at the end of each chapter. Use those questions to create one larger, more complex question. Then, add on a scenario, and you have a case study.
For example, let us look at this psychology chapter on Memory. The end of the chapter includes Critical Thinking Questions and Personal Application Questions. For these sample case studies, I cam going to use the Personal Application Questions.
Personal Application Question #1
Think of a time in which you and others you know (family members, friends, and classmates) experienced an an event that some viewed as threatening and others viewed as challenging. What were some of the differences in the reactions of those who experiences the event as threatening compared to those who viewed the event as challenging? Why do you think there were differences in how these individuals judged the same event?
Sample Case Study #1
You are in management at Generic Company. As a manager, you are leading your team through a global pandemic and everyone has been asked to work remotely. During your virtual team conversations, you have noticed everyone seems to be handling the situation differently. Some members are viewing this situation as a threat while others view it as a challenge to be overcome. Using what we have learned to date about memory, explain why you believe there are differences in how your team members are judging this same experience? How can you work to overcome those various opinions of the situation so you can become a more productive work team? Please be sure to cite specific information in your answer from the textbook.
Personal Application Question #2
Try to think of an example in which you coped with a particular stressor by using problem-focused coping. What was the stressor? What did your problem-focused efforts involve? Were they effective?
Sample Case Study #2
You are in management at Generic Company. You know your employees are under great stress while working at home during this global pandemic. They are trying to juggle health concerns, teaching their children, and working all at once, while also navigating various software platforms and virtual meeting spaces. This constantly changing chaotic environment is leaving your employees exhausted and overwhelmed. Take a few moments in your peer leadership team to plan to overcome these stressors by applying a problem-focused coping approach to the situation. How can you best support your work team? What techniques can you recommend helping them manage their feelings through a problem-focused approach? How can they be effective? How will you measure their effectiveness? Please be sure to cite specific information in your answer from the textbook.
Implementation of case studies into your virtual classroom is easy. You can add the case study directions and information directly into your blackboard course or on a separate document for your students to download.
You then share directions with them. Here are possible sample directions:
I am going to put you into small groups to complete a case study. In your small groups, someone will need to open a Microsoft word document, share it on the screen, and take notes over your discussion. If your group has any questions for me, one person from your group should raise their hand. When you are 100% done with your case study, everyone in your group should raise their hands. Once everyone is done, I will bring everyone into the main room, like we are now, and each group will have a chance to share their decisions with the group. Before I send you into small groups, please know the screen is going to go black for 10 – 20 seconds, and then you will end up in a small group with a few of your classmates. I will click start at 3, 2, 1, go:
I am going to put you into small groups to complete a case study. In your small groups, someone will need to open a Microsoft word document, share it on the screen, and take notes over your discussion. When your group is done, please put your answers into the discussion board spot located in today’s blackboard class. If your group has any questions for me, one person from your group should raise their hand. When you are 100% done with your case study, everyone in your group should raise their hands. Once everyone is done, I will bring everyone into the main room, like we are now, and each group will have a chance to share their decisions with the group. Before I send you into small groups, please know the screen is going to go black for 10 – 20 seconds, and then you will end up in a small group with a few of your classmates. I will click start at 3, 2, 1, go:
Teaching in a virtual classroom is different than face to face. Because we will not be able to see our student’s faces and read body language well, it is important we engage our students beyond a more traditional, lecture heavy, classroom environment. If you do not want your classroom to be silent, you must be structured, organized, and offering students intentional opportunities to engage with the classroom content on a regular basis. In the end, ask yourself these questions about using a Case Study in your classroom. Your answers will help you decide if you want to use them, or not:
- Do I want my students to press the mute button and walk away from the computer during a lecture?
- Do I want to spend, on average, 5 – 8 minutes per slide, and creating 20+ ppts for each online class (160 total minutes)?
- Do I want to spend, on average, 5 – 8 minutes per case study, and creating 2 or 3 case studies for each online class (24 total minutes)?
If you answered NO to the first two questions, it sounds like you will want to build case studies for your classes. Please feel free to reach out for any assistance you might need.