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Case Study Development Under The Tefate Project

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.115.1 - 4.115.2

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Susan Randolph

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

Session 3586

Case Study Development under the TEFATE Project*

Susan Randolph Jackson State Community College

The Tennessee Exemplary Faculty for Advanced Technological Education (TEFATE) project was the result of a National Science Foundation ATE grant designed to educate an interdisciplinary group of faculty who would provide leadership in communications technology curriculum development1. A primary product of this project was twenty-five case studies designed to deliver academic content and develop problem-solving skills in engineering technology courses. Each of the twenty-five cases joins academics with the workplace via a real life scenario in an effort to increase student interest and involvement1. Through industry partnerships, faculty internships, and site visits to area businesses, TEFATE participants were able to document contemporary, real-world telecommunications/engineering issues that were resolved by real-world engineering technicians2.

Initially we were introduced to case study models used in senior-level business courses, law and education; we realized early in the discovery process that our needs did not mirror those of existing programs using case studies as a teaching tool 1. We would have to create our own niche in case study development—and that is what we did. We began researching and writing our first case studies somewhat blindly, but the development process itself brought clarity to concepts that were previously ambiguous. As a result, our own ideas regarding case studies began to mature as we recognized the special challenges of writing cases for the freshman/sophomore level student in technological education.

Throughout the TEFATE project, faculty read books and attended workshops focused on case study development and teaching strategies designed to foster student interdependence and improve communication skills1. Collaborative learning/teambuilding and the ability to clearly explain solutions to non-team members are important aspects of case-based learning. Thus faculty must know how to structure the case to effectively develop these skills.

The importance of business partners cannot be overemphasized. The TEFATE case studies came directly from internship experiences and site visits. Clearly, without businesses willing to participate in providing information about their real- world problems and without their willingness to assist in proofing drafts for technical accuracy, there would be no case studies. By combining what we

Randolph, S. (1999, June), Case Study Development Under The Tefate Project Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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