Learning with Cases (Continued...)
Case Discussions in a Classroom
A classroom case discussion is usually guided by the instructor. Students are
expected to participate in the discussion and present their views. In some
cases, the instructor may adopt a particular view, and challenge the students to
respond. During the discussion, while a student presents his point of view,
others may question or challenge him. Case instructors usually encourage
innovative ways of looking at and analyzing problems, and arriving at possible
The interaction among students, and between the students and the instructor,
must take place in a constructive and positive manner. Such interactions help to
improve the analytical, communication, and interpersonal skills of the students.
Students must be careful that the contributions they make to the discussion are
relevant, and based on a sound analysis of the information presented in the
case. Students can also refer to the notes they have prepared during the course
of their preparation for the case discussion.
The instructor may ask questions to the class at random about the case study
itself or about the views put forward by an individual student. If a student has
some new insights about the issues at hand, she is usually encouraged to share
them with the class.
Students must respond when the instructor asks some pertinent questions. The
importance of preparing beforehand cannot be emphasized enough – a student will
be able to participate meaningfully in the case discussion only if he is
knowledgeable about the facts of the case, and has done a systematic case
analysis. A case discussion may end with the instructor (or a student)
summarizing the key learning points (or ‘takeaways') of the session.
Student performance in case discussions is usually evaluated, and is a
significant factor in assessing overall performance in the course. The extent of
participation is never the sole criterion in the evaluation – the quality of the
participation is an equally (or more) important criterion.
Working in a Group
If a group of students is asked to analyze a case, they must ensure that they
meet to discuss and analyze the case, by getting together for a group meeting at
a suitable time and location. Before the meeting, all the team members must read
the case and come with their own set of remarks/observations.
The group must ensure that all the group members contribute to the preparation
and discussion. It is important that the group is able to work as a cohesive
team –problems between team members are likely to have an adverse impact on the
group's overall performance.
Preparing a Written Case