Many of the discussion points in this guide will be relevant to both case studies and problem-based learning topics.The discipline of Materials Science and Engineering is ideal for using case study teaching because of the wealth of practical, real life examples that can be used to contextualise the theoretical concepts.Examples of different styles of case studies are given at the end of this guide.
This guide explores the use of the case-based approach to support engineering education and, more specifically, their role in Materials Science related Higher Education courses.
This will include looking at the 'traditional' Materials Science and Engineering courses as well as the more multidisciplinary courses (e.g.
The structure and format of our case studies can be likened to project-based learning as described by Savin-Baden (2003).
Savin-Baden highlights the differences between problem-based learning and project-based learning and these can be summarised as follows: In practice there is overlap between the two teaching modes and we should not worry too much about clear distinctions.
We define our case studies as student centred activities based on topics that demonstrate theoretical concepts in an applied setting.
This definition of a case study covers the variety of different teaching structures we use, ranging from short individual case studies to longer group-based activities.Students' comments include: In our experience, an important factor in the introduction of case studies into a course is the style or structure of the course itself.We offer a number of separate courses in our department and have recognised that they fall into two distinct types (defined here as Type I and Type II).Teaching and learning styles are, by their very nature, changing and in recent years there has been a noticeable move from lecture-based activities towards more student-centred activities.Case studies are an increasingly popular form of teaching and have an important role in developing skills and knowledge in students.In this guide, we consider the topic of case studies in its entirety.We begin by outlining our reasons for incorporating case studies into the teaching syllabus and then look at different aspects of case studies, including subject choice and content development, running and structuring of case studies, and assessment methods.Educational research has shown case studies to be useful pedagogical tools.Grant (1997) outlines the benefits of using case studies as an interactive learning strategy, shifting the emphasis from teacher-centred to more student-centred activities.In our experience of using case studies, we have found that they can be used to: Most courses already have some case study teaching in them and we have introduced a greater extent of case-based approach in all of our courses for the above reasons.We have found the use of case studies to be very beneficial, not only to the students but also to our lecturers who have found the learning/teaching experience enjoyable and challenging.