Case Studies (Remote Instruction)

Facilitating case studies in a remote learning environment

Time and Effort

Instructor Prep TimeMedium
Student Activity TimeMedium
Instructor Response TimeMedium
Complexity of ActivityMedium


Case Studies have student teams review a written study of a real-world scenario containing a field-related problem or situation. Case studies usually include a brief history of the situation and present a dilemma the main character is facing. Team members apply course concepts to identify and evaluate alternative approaches to solving the problem.

Use it when you want...

  • Students to bridge the gap between theory and practice and between the classroom and the workplace,
  • To have students engage in critical reflection by considering multiple alternatives for problem-solving, or
  • To help students develop skills in analysis, synthesis, communication, and decision-making.

What students will need


The following workflow is meant as guidance for how you can facilitate a Case Studies learning activity within a remote learning environment.


  • Identify a case study or develop a new one. The case can be real or hypothetical.
  • Develop a case study handout with a series of questions to guide students’ analysis using Google Docs and/or create a Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session in which students with work collaboratively.

Online (Synchronous)

  • Direct students to the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session during scheduled class time.
  • Present the case studies assignment to students. Explain to purpose, the intended outcomes, and how much time is allocated for the activity.
  • Allow time for students to ask questions about the problem presented in the case.
  • Give students the URL for the Google Docs version of the case study.
  • Form student groups and distribute cases (identical or different) to each team. Consider limiting the group size to 2-3 students. The easiest way to do this is to use the Random Assign feature. Identify the number of groups you want and it automatically populated students into them. You can also use Custom Assignment to create groups or use the Allow attendees to switch groups option. Note: Breakout groups are only available in sessions with 250 or fewer attendees. You can create up to 20 breakout rooms. There is no limit to the number of attendees you can put in each group.
  • Direct students to a breakout room. Have students work in groups to study the case from the protagonist’s point of view.
  • Direct students to sort out factual data, apply analytical tools, articulate issues, and reflect on their relevant experience. Have them recommend actions that resolve the problem in the case.
  • Using the Google Doc, have students prepare a statement describing their assessment of the case, the decision options as they see them, and their recommendations for a decision.
  • After the allotted time, end the breakout room session and have students return to the main session room. 
  • Guide discussion of the cases with the entire class. If the case is a real-world example, students will want to know what happened. Share this with them after they have reported on it.
  • If students prepared a written statement, have students share the Google Doc with you.


  • Review the students’ statements on the case study.
  • Provide feedback/grade to group participants (Note: breakout groups participation is not recorded).
  • Discuss the results of the activity at the next class meeting.

Accessibility and Room Considerations

  • Be aware that some students might not have the bandwidth to participate in synchronous sessions. Make sure students turn off their cameras to reduce bandwidth. Students can also use the dial-in phone connection for audio, instead of their network connection.
  • The technologies recommended here should meet most campus accessibility requirements. However, you should check with the McBurney Disability Resources Center for guidance on any specific accommodations for your students.

Technical Documentation


Barkley, Elizabeth F. et al. Collaborative Learning Techniques A Handbook For College Faculty. Wiley, 2014. pp. 238-243.