Case Study for Online Teaching

​​Many of us have ended an unusual semester, others are in the middle of their quarter. All of us are most likely reflecting on what just happened. I have received several requests on how to document and process our teaching approach this past term. Several have asked about creating a case study (CS), so I would like to share resources on this quasi-experimental design approach. I would like to note that a reflection, teaching idea or teaching story - although a great start - is not a CS. A CS is a "STUDY" of a case, or methodology. A formal definition, "a process of research in which detailed consideration is given to the development of a particular person, group, or situation over a period of time." To create a CS, we need to collect evidence (direct and indirect measures) to determine if the treatment (online teaching, including active learning and/or class assessment techniques, etc.) was effective and if so, in what context, to what extent, with what limitations, variables, etc.

If you are interested in creating a CS, you might wish to consider the functionality and purpose of your final artifact. Here are some examples from Boyer's (1990) Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Model:

  • Idea of a teaching strategy that you have created, attempted, reflected upon, perhaps asked students or colleagues their impression. Some minimal level of data are collected and examined in a systematic way. You might consider posting the results on a blog or your CTLs website.

  • White Paper, which is an authoritative guide that informs readers concisely about a complex topic. It is meant to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision. Carnegie Mellon CTL has a list of white papers for your consideration.

  • Teaching Conference Presentation. Kennesaw University maintains an extensive list of higher ed teaching conferences for your review.

  • Peer Reviewed Conference Proceeding. Similar to the above teaching conference presentation, this approach targets specific conferences that offer a peer review component and create a proceeding, or journal-like publication of the papers presented.

  • Peer Reviewed Scholarly SoTL manuscript. If you have more time and your time spent on creating a manuscript on teaching would be beneficial to your career, you could consider writing a research paper. This might be a challenge to put together after the event, if you did not plan in advance to collect data. Kennesaw University also has a list of SoTL journals for your review.

If you are interested in more CS information, here are a few you might review:

For CS Guides, you might review:


Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. NY Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching.

Angelo, T. & Cross, P. (2003). Classroom Assessment Techniques. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN: 1555425003

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