Reading the Case

Cases come in many formats, including videos, computer-based cases, and written forms. Text-based cases are the most common and they can be one paragraph or many pages long.

Note: Have a good dictionary and reference books available to be able to quickly look things up.

Here is an example of a short biology case. The first thing to do is to see what the case is about. Read it through to get a sense of the story and issues. One good case-learning method when you're working in groups is to have one student read the case out loud while the others read along silently. This sounds corny, but it gets everyone "on the same page" and students say it helps them get started.

Fleaing Louisiana
Case author: Margaret Waterman, 1996.

Moses Anders hung up the phone after talking with Ella Cardinale-Jones about her troubles. She had ticks on the dog, roaches in the house and hungry mosquitos chewing up her kids. "Now Mr. Anders, I'm used to seeing some bugs around -- this is Louisiana. But it seems no matter what I do there are more and more of them. How can I get rid of them? I don't feel like my children are safe." Ms. Cardinale-Jones was the 19th caller about pests month, and it was only January 7th.

Moses Anders is an intern with the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service while he finishes his BS in biology. Moses dug out the last of the the old tick, flea, and roach pamphlets in the files to send a copy to Ms. Cardinale-Jones. It said that these insects shouldn't be significant problems until late spring, the pamphlet did not really answer Ms. Cardinale-Jones questions, and it didn't mention mosquitos.

He talked about this situation with Fran Collins, his internship mentor, an agent who has been with the Service for several years. "Yeah," she said, "it's been really busy this winter. In fact, it's been this way all the time for a couple of years now." She agreed with Moses that the pamphlet needed to be updated and that he could take on the project, once he'd given her a work plan and time line.

Moses and Judy Yee, an intern in the public health office traded stories over lunch at one of the city's crowded outdoor cafes. She told him that the first case of Lyme disease in the area had recently been reported, and he told her about his new project. Their talk turned to the weather as they made their way back to work.

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