Teaching Strategies: Case Study Tips

Jun 12, 2019
Teaching Strategies, Case Study

Hat tip to Brian Page for sharing this article from Harvard Business which highlights teaching strategies when using case studies:  

TIPS: When students are not prepared…

If too many students come to a case discussion unprepared, ask why – don’t assume it’s laziness. Do they know how to prepare? Were your expectations clear? If the issue is only poor preparation, reinforce your expectations and the responsibility students have towards each other’s learning.

To get the most out of a class session in which preparation is scant, consider the following:

  • Put students into groups to skim and discuss the case. If feasible, seed each group with 1 or 2 prepared students.
  • Spend more time on issues that don’t require having read the entire case.
  • Leave some issues open and return to them in the next session.
  • Revert to a presentation approach as a last resort – it signals that when students don’t prepare, you will rescue them.

4 Tips to Improve Student Preparation:

  1. Reward good preparation. At the end of class thank the well-prepared students without naming them. Those unprepared will get the hint.
  2. Help them along. Make cheat sheets available with key names, events, and dates. Ask a few easier questions to build momentum in discussions.
  3. Use case write-ups or give pop quizzes. For undergrads try using pop quizzes that require knowledge of case facts.
  4. Make an example of a student or two. If resorting to this, be sure it’s done respectfully and that the student you choose can handle the pressure.


NGPF has over a dozen case studies to choose from including teacher favorites, Tale of Two Credit Scores and Save Me! 

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