Mary Wiedenhoeft, Iowa State University, 1126D Agronomy Hall, 1126D Agronomy Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1010, United States of America
The purpose of using case studies in college courses is to engage students in critical thinking and decision-making, with emphasis on the process of gathering information, defining the problem, formulating reasonable options, and making a decision/recommendation. Cases are based on real-life situations, with real constraints, uncontrolled variables, limited information, social political influences, and many options, each having positive and negative consequences. In the ideal learning environment, the students would leave the classroom to work directly with the decision maker(s) during the process of gathering information and defining the problem. The students would develop options and consequences of the options, before meeting again with the decision maker(s). In reality because of resource and time limitations, the decision maker is brought to the classroom at best, but most often all the necessary information is gathered by the instructor and then given to the students in the classroom. Through computer technology and media students can be provided with better real world information, a 3-D view of the context of the problem and video recording of the decision maker(s) without the students leaving the classroom. This paper demonstrates examples of using technology and media to enhance case studies that are used in the classroom.