Case Studies | Saving the case via a time warp

Case discussions take time. Written exercises can help your students succeed.

A group discussion. Instructors often fail to leave enough time for in-depth case discussion. (Image: Antenna/Unsplash)

The result is a truncated discussion, with a radical foreshortening of the crucial final phase when the class summarizes, consolidates, and reflects upon what was learned.

If a discussion gets away from a case teacher, a written wrap-up may be an effective remedy. With three minutes left of a class, it can be difficult for a case teacher to touch on all the themes they would like to reflect on, or make all the connections to broader theoretical perspectives that they think are important. In these cases, instructors should ask students to complete the reflection task in a quick written exercise. Then, to summarize students’ contributions, the instructor should prepare a handout that responds to some of these themes, for distribution during the next class.

  • Did you try to do too much, or was it just a bad teaching day?
  • What were the teaching objectives? Were they too broad or involved for their respective audience?



The Diplomatic Pouch features insights and commentary on global challenges and the evolving demands of diplomatic statecraft. Views are those of the authors and not necessarily the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy or Georgetown University. Visit for more.

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