While looking for something else on the web I stumbled on an interesting site regarding the use of short case studies or case histories for promotional use. I began to wonder if the tips on writing them could help us fine tune our case studies for classroom and workshop use. Take a look at this item from Wordbiz Report and see if you can use the tips in this and linked articles to write a simple, short case study based on one of your own research bluders, challeges or problems. Leave the solution open, posing some sort of open-ended questions. Remember, short case studies bear a resemblance to those word problems we got in arithmatic class in 5th grade.
Regular readers will note I am getting you to learn by doing! Like a good facilitator, I hope.
I teach genealogy for adult education at a local community college. I am always looking for ‘hands on’ exercises for my classes to try.
I thought to set up a scenario where you are a descendent of ……..a famous person who we will treat as just an ancestor. Since I teach in IL, I selected Abraham Lincoln. I made up a photo grouping which we were going to use to fill out a family group sheet. I then set out to flesh out the family tree. What astounded me was that we know so little about Nancy Hanks. There are seven candidates for Nancy Hanks roaming around KY during that time period. In fact, 3 places in VA claim to be her birthplace! Abraham is a favorite father for Nancy, and Lincoln’s first name fit nicely. EXCEPT he has an Abraham on the Lincoln side too. This makes an excellent demo that even someone as written about as Abraham Lincoln may still not be able to trace his ancestry back to Charlemagne.
I use the 1880 Census, since it is free from the LDS for a census exercise.
Since Abraham Lincoln didn’t make it to 1880, I chose Frank Lloyd Wright. Stupidly, as it turns out since he is from WI. However, if you read the records carefully, you will find him listed twice–once with his parents and once on an uncle’s farm.
Turns out to be great way to demonstrate that census data is not perfect.
Thanks for the comments. Using a census or a photo by itself does not make a case history. Good SHORT case histories bring the learner to a point where they can apply one or two principles or concepts to a case, and then step back and look at the results and say, “Aha, that’s what the teacher is talking about” Short case histories bring a learner to a moment of discovery or understanding that 30 minutes of lecturing will not. We need to dig deeper to create effective cases. And we need to edit out distracting bitsbefore we turn them loose on the student.
Thanks for your comments,