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ERIC Number: EJ878834
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1059-9053
Incorporating Case Studies into a World Food and Population Course
Econopouly, Bethany F.; Byrne, Patrick F.; Johnson, Marc A.
Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, v39 p79-83 2010
The use of case studies in college courses can increase student engagement with the subject matter and improve analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills. Case studies were introduced in a relatively large (54 students) undergraduate world food and population course at Colorado State University in the spring semester of 2008 and evaluated for their effectiveness. Groups of two to four students selected and presented case studies developed at Cornell University that address human health and nutrition, food production, poverty alleviation, and natural resource management. The quality of the presentations and the learning experience varied considerably among the 16 presenting groups. The most successful presentations were those that had been rehearsed with an instructor, incorporated role playing or other creative techniques, and demonstrated enthusiasm for the topic. In an evaluation at the end of the semester, a majority of students felt the case studies were an important learning experience, improved their presentation skills, and should be retained in future offerings of the course. However, in multiple choice exams, students performed less well on questions based on case studies compared with questions derived from lecture material. This may be a reflection of the ineffectiveness of multiple choice exams to evaluate higher-level learning. Based on our experience, case studies can make positive contributions to similar courses, especially if efforts are made to improve class discussions and synthesis comments are made by the instructor to tie the case studies to the rest of the course. (Contains 2 tables.)
American Society of Agronomy. 677 South Segoe Road, Madison, WI 53711. Tel: 608-273-8080; Fax: 608-273-2021; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado