In the spring of 2014, Dr. Shelly Rae Pehler from the department of Nursing participated in a CETL Successful Teaching Practices workshop that focused on developing interactive case studies. Dr. Pehler had the idea to replicate a real-life case that involved a patient whose symptoms could easily lead the nursing staff into two different interventions (as an interesting aside, the real-life staff actually ended up choosing the wrong intervention). After a year of researching the case, drawing out concept maps, and working closely with instructional designer April Pierson and her intern Sammi Nelson to translate it into the Articulate program, Dr. Pehler was able to trial the case study in her Pediatrics course this spring.
The format of the interactive case study was very much like the popular Choose Your Own Adventure Books of the 70’s: each slide presented the student with a choice that would lead them down opposing paths. Some paths provided the students with a chance for correction: while their first decision might not have been the right one, their next decision could allow them to get back on track. Consistently making the wrong decisions ultimately lead the student to the wrong plan of care for the patient. Alternatively, making all the correct decisions brought the student expediently to the correct intervention. In those cases, Dr. Pehler encouraged the students to go back and redo the case study, trying different decisions to see how the different choices will ultimately change patient outcomes.
After participating in the interactive case study, students were asked to provide feedback via a Qualtrics survey. The majority of students felt the case study reinforced course content, allowed for use of critical thinking skills, while also being fun to complete. Students unanimously voted for the creation of additional case studies to reinforce class content, and many comments centered around the desire to make the case study longer. While the resources to do so are pretty substantial—mostly in regard to time commitment—Dr. Pehler plans to add a new case study each year to her curriculum. She finds that the students really enjoy the interactive application of class material, and that case studies are personally quite fun to map out and put together.
For more information regarding interactive case studies, feel free to contact instructional designer April Pierson.