Learning With Cases

Cases can be used to learn in a number of contexts, preferably under the guidance of an experienced case teacher.  Good cases don't contain single, simple questions that are easy to pick out; nor do the questions that can be found have single 'right answers' or 'school solutions' (even though there are any number of clearly wrong or inadequate answers that students might try out).  Well designed cases will aid in sharpening critical thinking, developing discussion skills, and the mastering the fine art of asking the right questions (a particularly important skill, for after all, real life professional problems don't usually come pre-packaged like a typical school exam).  A case often presents several different values or principles in conflict--discovering, framing and dealing with these conflicts helps highlight how abstract concepts are embedded in our professional lives, and gives the student an opportunity to develop professional judgment.

Only a few cases are included here.  We owe most of these to Lt Col Patrick Tower. More will follow in the coming months, and we welcome any suggestions you have.  For more about the case method in teaching try John Foran's web site at UC Santa Barbara.  Another terrific web resource for ethics teachers: Dr. Larry Hinman's site at the University of San Diego.

This page is under constant construction; please send all comments, suggestions and ideas for content to Tom Ellis .