Cases are teaching and learning tools that allow students to freely discuss issues related to the case, with the teacher moderating and facilitating the flow of the discussion. However, “if there is only one answer to a case, don’t use a case. Better give a lecture!” This was one of the tips given by Dr. Fernando Roxas during the AIM-DLSU Case Writing Workshop held at the Meralco Caseroom of the Asian Institute of Management last May 15, 2015.
To write a good teaching case is both art and science. However, Abell (1997) lists ten ingredients to look for in teaching somebody else’s case or in writing your own: (1) make sure it is a case and not just a story; (2) make sure the case tackles a relevant, important issue; (3) make sure the case provides a voyage of discovery; (4) make sure the case is controversial; (5) make sure the case contains contrasts and comparisons; (6) make sure the case provides currently useful generalizations; (7) make sure the case has the data required to tackle the problem–not too many and not too few; (8) make sure the case has a personal touch; (9) make sure the case is well-structured and easy to read; and (10) make sure the case is short.
To ensure the presence of the ten ingredients, the preparing teaching notes becomes significant. Teaching notes, according to Roxas, are like roadmaps that suggest how a case can be used in class. It allows instructors to decide whether certain cases are appropriate for their own teaching objectives, it suggests ways in which the cases can be used and it explains the author’s analysis of the case. A teaching note should include a case overview or synopsis, case learning objectives, target audience, accompanying readings or assignments, case analysis, class feedback, teaching plan, epilogue and other teaching aids.
The workshop aimed to help participants develop their case ideas by encouraging participants to prepare their draft cases and having it critiqued by their peers. After all, case writing just like cases, are voyages to discovery. Now, the challenge for the participants is finishing their first draft in preparation for their public presentation and submission. (Cresilda Caning)