We talked about case based learning (CBL) and problem/project based learning (PBL) in class this week. I am torn about whether or not I will adopt CBL/PBL for my future classroom. I like the idea of having students take charge of their own learning through cases or projects. I am strongly concerned about the amount of work it takes to complete a good CBL/PBL assignment. Most CBL/PBL classes require a flipped style where students read or watch videos outside of class and prepare for the in class case assignment. If students are taking many classes in a flipped format I worry that they will have to spend an inordinate amount of time outside of class teaching themselves how their class material.
Additionally, the instructor needs to find and alter cases for use in the class, or just make their own from scratch. I have been looking and it I have not been able to find any case studies that could be used for the introduction to animal science courses that I work with. Instead I think that I want to implement a the POGIL (Process oriented guided inquiry learning) activities for an introductory level course instead of a CBL assignment. One of the purposes of POGIL is to introduce students to course content and have them develop their own understanding of some key concepts. I think it would be best to supplement the POGIL lessons with reading assignments after the fact and some guest lectures to expose students to more content. I would like to develop some problem solving problems for exams or writing assignments for the same class such as having students to identify a problem on a farm from a background story containing some specific details. I don’t think of these as “real” CBL assignments though.
As far as teaching advanced classes I would be intrigued to try to include some CBL/PBL assignments – especially to try to have students connect concepts from prerequisite courses to new material in the course. For example in a Poultry Nutrition course I worked with previously Biochemistry is required. Students are expected to understand how the major macro-molecules (Carbohydrates, Lipids, Proteins) are broken down in the body and in Poultry Nutrition we teach students what to feed chickens to meet the specific nutrient requirements utilizing those pathways. There are available case studies on the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science that could be modified for use in my Poultry Nutrition class.
I guess I am open to working with CBL/PBL in my classes but I will never teach a Case Based/Problem based class.