June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Case studies are used extensively in medical, law, and business schools to help students understand how theory applies to actual events or situations. This work explores the impact of the use of case studies in an environmental engineering laboratory, introductory engineering course, introductory biology seminar course, and upper level biology course. Motivations for implementing the cases include determining how case studies teaching impacts students’ ability to carry out a scientific investigation (from hypothesis to data analysis to discussion of results) and if the results correlate to students’ learning style preferences. This work is part of a continuing funded investigation of the use of case studies with the potential to contribute to the body of knowledge related to the use of learning styles assessments in educational practice across a variety of disciplines. The full study includes quantitative and qualitative assessments in the form of surveys, focus groups with students, and evaluation of student work (lab reports or oral presentations) for quality and content by two external reviewers. Student learning styles (active/reflective, sensing/intuitive, visual/verbal and sequential/global) were also assessed using the Index of Learning Styles Survey (ILSS) by Felder and Solomon. Data was collected at three different institutions: a public, land-grant minority serving institution, a private minority serving liberal arts college for women, and a private, predominantly white liberal arts college. A control group of students experienced a traditional laboratory or seminar and an intervention group experienced case studies to cover the same content. For this work, institutional survey data collected over two years assessing student impressions of the case study method were evaluated to determine if the responses vary by institution type. Early data reveals some interesting demographic trends and possible reasons for the behavior are discussed.
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