Assessing Case Learning: Variations on the

College Case Conference
May 22, 2015
Chandra Hodgson, Humber College
The professor asks students to write a dialogue between
two well-versed people on a controversial topic. The
individuals in their story (say Sally and Sam) hold
opposite views on a question such as global warming.
Sally and Sam have at least twenty exchanges, twenty
from Sally and twenty from Sam. The exchanges
should be substantive and intelligent. The students
must reference any claims that their protagonists
make. Finally, at the end of the dialogue, the students
should declare their own position on the topic and
their reasons for it.
(from Herreid, C.F. “Case Study Teaching” (2011))
The case is made available to students with a
student assignment question for them to
process. An assignment outlining explicitly what
is expected in the case report is generally
required for students to succeed. This can still
involve the small group process as a step on the
way to preparing their individual reports.
Reports can also be prepared in groups, though
be sure to use best practices in collaborative
writing to avoid the usual pitfalls of group
writing assignments.
Typically include the following sections:
1. Identification of the problem
2. Analysis of the data
3. Identification of alternatives
4. Identification of criteria
5. Assessment of alternatives using the criteria
6. Selection of best alternative
7. Implementation plan with timelines and
milestones (optional)
Assign a reflection piece to the class either in
place of or after a large group discussion.
This is best managed online through the
discussion or blog tool in an LMS such as
Note: Can be combined with any other method
as additional assessment.
Instructors assign the case as usual. They post
discussion questions to an LMS such as
Blackboard. There should ideally be a few
discussion threads, for example, one about
identifying the problem, one about alternatives,
one about criteria, as well as one about what,
ultimately, they would do in the shoes of the
These questions can be revealed one at a time,
throughout the course of a week or more.