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Case Files

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Innovative Teaching/Learning Strategies

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.287.1 - 8.287.4



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Paper Authors

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James Johnson

author page

Bill Kitchen

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Case Files James Johnson, William Kitchen Nashville State Technical Community College

The Case Files is a National Science Foundation funded project designed to produce a readily accessible inventory of case studies and professional development workshops to help faculty implement case studies in their technology classes. This project is built on two previous projects that explored techniques for training faculty how to use authentic case studies that incorporate the “Case Files Learning Cycle” defined by project partners from the Learning Technology Center at Vanderbilt University.

Four case studies were developed and tested in colleges and universities throughout Tennessee and surrounding states in the previous projects. Assessment of student learning showed that students transfer the knowledge they gained to new situations better than those students learning the same technical material via traditional classroom activities.

Specific goals of the Case Files Project include the following: • Provide technology faculty (100 total) with new strategies for delivery and development of case studies. • Develop an inventory of case studies and case ideas to be conveniently accessed by faculty. • Broadly disseminate case ideas and highly sophisticated cases for technological education.

This presentation will define problem based learning using case studies and show assessment results to verify that the method does result in enhanced student learning and transfer of knowledge. Ways in which faculty across the country can benefit from this project will also be explained. These ways include participation in two types of workshops and the authoring of case file manuscripts. Informational workshops are approximately ½ day in length and help faculty understand the advantages of using cases studies in their curriculum. More detailed Authoring Workshops will prepare faculty members to design and develop their own case studies which can be submitted for publication and dissemination through the project infrastructure.

Case studies have been used in educational settings in many professional fields. Engineering Technology faculty are only beginning to use this problem based learning approach. The Case Files Project will help equip faculty with the knowledge, resources and materials they need to successfully adopt case study methods in their classrooms.

The aim of the Case Files project is to create opportunities for students to learn technical concepts and skills using a problem based approach to authentic situations as they can occur in the world of work outside the confines of the classroom. While cases in a traditional sense offer students an opportunity to examine how a problem was solved. The approach taken in the Case Files project is more one of a “case based problem solving” approach. Based on decades of research and practice led by Dr. Howard Barrows in the field of medicine, a problem-based approach requires students to build a case as a result of solving the problem. Barrows argues that this approach is much more in keeping with the way real problems are addressed in the world outside of school 1

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineer Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Johnson, J., & Kitchen, B. (2003, June), Case Files Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12568

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015