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Teaching Science with Case Studies: A National Survey of Faculty Perceptions. Mary Lundeberg Professor, Teacher Education Michigan State University Aman Yadav Purdue University Michael DeSchryver Michigan State University October, 2006 Buffalo, New York. Overview.

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Teaching Science with Case Studies:A National Survey of Faculty Perceptions

Mary Lundeberg

Professor, Teacher Education

Michigan State University

Aman Yadav

Purdue University

Michael DeSchryver

Michigan State University

October, 2006

Buffalo, New York


Overview l.jpg
Overview

  • Why do investigations in classrooms?

  • Faculty perceptions of student learning

  • Future questions worth investigating

  • How and what should we measure?


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Why do investigations?

  • Scientific inquiry includes:

    • Significant questions that can be empirically investigated

    • Research linked to theory

    • Methods appropriate to the question

    • Replication and generalization across studies

    • Professional scrutiny and critique

      • Shavelson & Towne, 2002


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Research questions

  • Description

    • What is happening?

  • Cause

    • Is there a systematic effect?

  • Process or mechanism

    • Why or how is it happening?

      • Shavelson & Towne, 2002


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DescriptionWhat is happening?

  • Survey of case teaching in science

    • (23 states + Canada)

  • 2004-2005 Faculty perceptions (n=101)

    Contexts of case use; benefits and challenges


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Contexts of Case Use

  • 84% reported using case studies in teaching

  • 47% used 1-2 cases per semester

  • 41 % used 3-5 cases per semester

  • 12% used 6 or more cases per semester

  • 66% of cases took one class period or less

  • 33% of cases took 2-5 class periods

  • 58% of faculty wrote their own cases

  • 35% modified existing cases

  • 7% used existing cases


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Students are better able to

91.3

view an issue from multiple

1.3

perspectives

90.1

Students develop a deeper

understanding of concepts

1.3

88.8

Students demonstrate

stronger critical thinking skills

2.5

82.6

Students make connections

across multiple content areas

0

61.3

Students have increased their

discussion of ethical issues

8.8

Students have difficulty

17.5

making connections across

62.6

multiple content areas (-)

0

20

40

60

80

100

Percent

Disagree

Agree

Faculty Perceptions: Critical Thinking


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Students take a more active

95.1

part in the learning process

when they use case studies

93.8

Students are more engaged in

class

Students have a better grasp

91.3

of the practical application of

core course concepts

80.1

Students develop positive

peer-to-peer relationships

1.3

78.8

Students strengthen

communication skills

5

0

20

40

60

80

100

Percent

Disagree

Agree

Faculty Perceptions: Learning (Pos)


Slide9 l.jpg

1.3

Students retain less from

class

87.5

Students feel that what they

7.5

are learning is not applicable

77.5

to their field of study

2.5

Students do worse on tests

65.1

26.3

Students feel that they are not

covering enough content

47.6

52.6

Students are frustrated by

ambiguity

26.3

60

Students find the format

challenging

22.6

0

20

40

60

80

100

Percent

Disagree

Agree

Faculty Perceptions: Learning (Neg)


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Lack of preparation time

78.7

required for your use of cases

21.3

in teaching

6.4% Severe

Assessing student learning,

68

student discussion, or small

31.9

group work

2.1% Severe

58.4

A lack of relevant case

studies

41.5

10.6% Severe

Student resistance to the

49

case study approach to

51.1

teaching

4.3% Severe

41.5

Pressure to cover more

content

58.5

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

Percent

No Difficulty

Some Difficulty

Obstacles Faculty Encounter: Top Five


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Cause:Is there a systematic effect?

  • This question can only be answered with an experimental or quasi-experimental design.


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Meta-analysis ofMain Effects of PBL (Dochy, Segers, Van den Bossche, & Gijbels, 2003)


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Ways to assess understanding

  • Transfer of knowledge using a task to show how concepts

    • are applied to different,

    • real world problems, and

    • explained using literacy fitting the context.


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Process or mechanismWhy or how is it happening?

  • How did case-based teaching influence outcomes?


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Research Directions

  • Do cases enrich student understanding of core concepts and if so, how?

  • What misconceptions do students bring to instruction and do cases increase or dispel misconceptions?

  • When in the instructional process are cases most promising? How much knowledge is needed?

  • Under what conditions do video, computer simulations and other representational tools enhance the case experience?

  • How do case methods facilitate understanding and engagement for different student populations?

  • What kinds of cases (open, closed, dilemma) produce what kinds of learning?

    Measuring the kind of thinking developed through cases

    across faculty, courses and programs


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What is important to assess?

  • Multidimensional, integrated learning outcomes.

  • Conceptual understanding plus transfer.

  • Values, strategies, communicative practices and habits of mind that affect performance beyond the classroom.

  • Changes in performance over time.

    (NRC, 2001; Astin et al, 1996)


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Conclusion

Faculty think case-based instruction has a positive impact on student learning, critical thinking, and participation.

The shortage of relevant cases, lack of sufficient preparation time, and the assessment of student learning from CBI instruction are challenges to its use.

We recommend further CBI studies, including student perception surveys, interviews with both faculty and students, and empirical examinations of CBI based student learning.


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