With the rise of diversity and inclusion in higher education, the needs of students have drastically changed. The same methods that have been used for decades may not carry the same efficacy as it did before. A push for more aberrant methods may be exactly what higher education needs, to an extent. Although I fully support more creative and unique methods of teaching, I do feel swinging too far to the other side of the “teaching spectrum” so-to-speak could be harmful.
The most impactful higher educational experience I’ve had came from a course called Infectious Disease Epidemiology. Aside from the collectively taught curriculum, the thing that stood out to me the most was the consistent balanced structure of the course. In each unit of the course, professors would combine traditional lectures with some case-based learning project at the end. As someone who thrives in a traditional lecture setting, it made me uneasy yet confident in the work I was doing. Although I struggle with the critical thinking and ingenuity typically required of case-based learning projects, I was allowed to think about topics pertinent to the case objectively and gain an arsenal of knowledgeable tools beforehand.
In this course in particular, I was allowed to learn how others had used important strategies and protocol before personally applying them to a similar case or situation. Students were lectured on important topics before given their case to work on. Contrarily, I am sure working through a case together from start to finish develops a more natural understanding of a particular problem or topic. However, I feel this combination of traditional and contemporary methods can provide a better education for a wider range of students. Seeing as not every student has had their critical thinking nurtured appropriately by their academic settings, this combination of methods could prove optimal.
Overall, I feel that case based learning can be an incredible thing to include in the structure of a class. However, its implementation should be done with caution as to not exclude or create any difficult boundaries for students that may not have developed the necessary critical thinking skills to hit the ground running in a case based learning scenario. That is, a healthy balance between traditional lectures and case based learning projects could enrich learning for all students.