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Teaching with Cases: Initial Advice

By Bill Frey and Chuck Huff

Here we provide some helpful hints for leading discussions of ethics cases. These are geared primarily for those who have never approached the task before, but there is enough detail that experienced hands might want at least to skim the headers and dip in where appropriate. We organize this essay by a series of short admonitions, each backed up with commentary.

The following links will take you to various pieces of advice, some being extensive.

Structure the discussion of a case by providing students a framework for analysis.

Intertwine your lecture with case discussion by means of meta-comments.

Don't turn the discussion into a lecture.

Give students time to think about their responses.

Be prepared for students to ask you what you would do if you were in this situation.

Be prepared to have students ask you what the right answer is in this situation.

Let students disagree (heck, beg them to disagree), but insist that they be reasonable.

Don't get stuck in just one way of discussing cases.

Don't get stuck using just one type of case.

Conclusion: Have Fun!