How to use our case studies
Academic institutions around the world understand the power of the case study method, and many use ISD’s online library of case studies in diplomacy. Case studies and simulation exercises can be particularly useful in sparking discussion among students. The 250 case studies in ISD’s online library give opportunities for students to experience the dynamics of foreign policy decision-making firsthand and provide a primer on key episodes in the history of international relations. Explore ISD’s full library of case studies here.
We update this page regularly with links to resources and tips for using our case studies in the physical classroom and in the virtual learning environment. If you have found any other resources particularly useful in bringing the power of case studies to your classroom, and would like us to add them to this page, please reach out to us with suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Institute for the Study of Diplomacy
The Diplomatic Pouch: The Case Studies and Teaching page on ISD's blog provides tips for instructors on teaching case studies as well as commentary and analysis on diplomacy and international relations.
Making the Case: Using Case Studies in the Classroom, Passport: The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review, by ISD’s Kelly M. McFarland and Vanessa Lide, pp.33-34: This article explains the value of teaching with case studies in social sciences and humanities and outlines how instructors can successfully incorporate case studies in their curriculum.
The ABCs of Case Teaching, Pew Case Studies in International Affairs, by Vicki Golich, Mark Boyer, Patrice Franko, and Steve Lamy: This is an extensive manual on teaching with case studies. It covers everything from describing case studies and case study teaching, to explaining the advantages of the case study method, to guidelines for instructors on how to successfully prepare for, conduct, discuss, and evaluate a case study-based class. It also includes a sample case study syllabus.
- Eric Leonard, professor of political science at Shenandoah University, shared his recommendations on teaching with case studies, for both in-person and online instruction. Additional resources mentioned in the webinar:
- Establishing an International Criminal Court: The Emergence of a New Global Authority?: Eric's case that he draws on while walking viewers through the key steps to consider when teaching with case studies.
- Bloom’s Taxonomy
Harvard Business School
The Perfect Opening Question: Tips for launching an immersive case discussion.
The Case Method - Harvard Business School: This video provides an overview of the value and process of the case study method, the primary learning system at the Harvard Business School.
Preparing to teach: This section features advice in the following areas:
Leading in the classroom: This section features advice in the following areas:
Characteristics of Effective Case Teaching: This document offers guidance on the outcomes, preconditions, and student/faculty behavior for successful teaching based on case studies.
Guidelines for Effective Observation of Case Instructors: This document provides detailed instructions on the process of faculty observations, class preparation, and assessment of discussion-based teaching.
Boston University Center for Teaching and Learning
Using case studies to teach: This website outlines common elements of cases, highlights the advantages of teaching with case studies, and includes instructions how to teach with case studies and pair them with other readings.
Carleton College Science Education Resource Center
Teaching with the Case Method: This website provides various resources on what case method teaching is, why instructors should teach using the case method, and how to teach with the case method.
Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning
Case Method Teaching and Learning: This website provides information about the different types of case studies and case study teaching methods.
University of California, Santa Barbara Case Method Website
How to Teach with Cases: This site provides links to several articles on case study teaching, including:
Case studies in the virtual learning environment
Institute for the Study of Diplomacy
- Using our negotiation simulations online: This blog post outlines how to adapt ISD’s library of international negotiation simulations for an online learning environment.
- 5 tips for teaching international affairs online: This blog post gives tips on online teaching in the new normal.
- Resources from Eric Leonard, professor of political science at Shenandoah University and ISD case study author, who is a specialist in online learning:
- Roxanne Cullen & Michael Harris (2009) “Assessing learner‐centredness through course syllabi, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education,” 34:1, 115-125, DOI: 10.1080/02602930801956018
- Vanderbilt Center for Teaching (Learner-centered syllabus)
- Ohio State Office of Distance Education and eLearning (Active learning online)
- Santa Fe College Online Course Design Checklist (Course checklist)
- Educause Review (Online discussions)
- Penn State Student Readiness Questionnaire for Online Learning (Student responsibility awareness)
- NWEA Learning Tools and Apps
- Universal Design for Learning
- Voicethread (Online tool to conduct asynchronous discussions)
Harvard Business School
Online Webinar Recordings:
- Moving a Case Class Online: This hour-long webinar with Bill Schiano (Bentley University) specifically addresses the steps necessary to transition from an in-person to a virtual case-based class. The webinar is designed for instructors who have little to no experience with online teaching.
- Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities in Online Case Teaching: Insights from Two Case Teaching Experts: This hour-long webinar, led by V.G. Narayanan (Harvard University) and Bill Schiano (Bentley University), addresses both technological challenges and general differences between on-line and in-person classes and the challenges and opportunities that come with on-line case teaching.
- Deep Dive Into Case Teaching Online: This hour-long webinar with Bill Schiano (Bentley University) reflects on the transition from in-person to online classes amid COVID-19 and gives more in-depth insights into online case teaching.
- Bringing the Case Method Online: In this episode, two HBS experts discuss strategies for and challenges to moving a case-based class online amid the COVID-19 epidemic.
- Mastering Case Teaching in Online Classes: This article outlines how to adjust expectations when shifting a case-based course from an in-person to online format.
Harvard University Project on Negotiation
- Teaching Negotiation Online: Where Do We Start?: This website and accompanying video outline best practices when teaching an online negotiation class. This is an excellent resource for anyone seeking guidance on how to implement one of ISD’s international negotiation simulations in a virtual classroom.