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Course Structure: Case Study

Use the case study approach to engage students in critical thinking for real-world situations. As facilitator, guide students as they turn basic knowledge into principles that can be applied across cases. By placing them in real situations, and requiring them to make decisions, students learn to connect their knowledge of facts with the need for analytical skills.

Course menu items such as Brainstorm discussion forums, Apply the Theory wiki, and Blog About It reflect the importance of both group and individual work in a case study course.

This course structure works well for classes that make use of practical examples to expose students to relevant issues, such as ecology, public policy, engineering, economics, social science, and law classes.

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You can print this topic and refer to it while you build your course. You might also want to print Using Course Structures to use as a reference.

What Does the Course Menu Look Like?

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Using Your Course Menu

The following table describes the content areas and course tools included in the Case Study course structure.

Content Areas and Course Tools in the Case Study Course Structure
Content Type Description
Case Studies Cases Studies is your central instructor-designed content area. Use it to prepare your students for the in-depth study of the cases ahead. Create folders divided by case or topic and include all related materials, such as instructions, readings, lectures, and assignments. Provide students with clear guidelines for what their responsibilities are when discussing a case study in class. Set some ground rules for participation and communicate the specific goals you want them to accomplish.

To learn more, see Creating Content in a Course Area.

Brainstorm In the Brainstorm discussion forums, you can create formal assignments, such as posing weekly questions related to each case study, and informal interactions, where students ask and respond to each other's questions. In each forum, you can model skills of questioning and help students exercise their skills of debate. Good discussion is generated by the types of questions that you ask and ensures that students are considering all angles of a case study.

To learn more, see About the Discussion Board.

Apply the Theory Apply the Theory links to your course's wiki where students can share and collaborate on content. As they create and edit pages together, they develop interpersonal skills and the capacity to solve problems in a team environment. As students identify the core issue and suggest solutions, they become actively involved in the analysis. If roadblocks or too much consensus occur, you can assign students roles in the case, and they can take on new perspectives as they continue to contribute.

To learn more, see Wikis.

Blog About It In their Blog About It entries, students can test theories and receive feedback from you and their classmates. Help students develop their theories further by offering encouragement, more background information, and supplementary resources. Direct students toward ideas they may have missed because of their previous interests and knowledge. Optionally, enable grading to assess students' overall contributions to the case study.

To learn more, see Blogs.

References In the References content area, you can share additional material so interested students can learn more. Because many case studies can spark debate, help students discover the material they can use to develop their theories by providing rich sources. Students can also use these resources to find topics for projects or papers.

To learn more, see Creating Content in a Course Area.

Agenda The customizable Agenda module page provides students with an overview of current course information such as Announcements, My Calendar, To Do, What's New, and My Tasks.

To learn more, see Notifications Dashboard Display.

Course Overview In the Course Overview content area, provide materials that students can access throughout the semester. Include a syllabus or other basics, such as grading policies, textbook information, and important dates.

To learn more, see Creating Content in a Course Area.

My Instructor Create profiles for yourself, other instructors, teaching assistants, and guest lecturers participating in your course in My Instructor. Include contact information such as email addresses, phone numbers, office hours, and location.

To learn more, see Contacts.

My Grades Students can see the status of gradable items such as assignments, tests, wiki contributions, and discussion posts on their My Grades pages.

To learn more, see My Grades.

Tools Give students access to all available course tools on a single page. Add commonly used course tools to the course menu for easy access.

To learn more, see Managing Tool Availability.

Help Blackboard Help contains searchable how-to information. Students in need of additional assistance should contact the school's computing help desk.

Customize the course structure by renaming, removing, hiding, or adding content areas and links to tools.