Ethical Issues Underlying the Instructor's Manual for Teaching With Cases: Exploring the Dark Side of the Pedagogy

Ethical Issues Underlying the Instructor's Manual for Teaching With Cases: Exploring the Dark Side of the Pedagogy

Herbert Sherman (Long Island University, USA) and Adva Rachel Dinur (Long Island University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8057-7.ch004
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This chapter on case research explores the ethical underpinnings of the writing order of the case/IM, IM authorship and validity, testing the case with a class, and students' plagiarism as well as access to the Internet and the IM. This is then followed by a section entitled “Publish or Perish: The Value of Case Publication,” which addresses the perceived value of publishing teaching cases as well as how the demands for increased publishing (as well as the increased number of publishing outlets) may lead to more pragmatic and perhaps unethical actions by case authors.
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Writing Instructors’ Manual/Teaching Notes

The final step in the case writing process is the development of an instructor’s manual (IM) or teaching note for the case. The importance of the IM has been heightened by the definition of research by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). According to the AACSB, a case is not considered research unless it has a complete teaching note including the author(s) analysis of the case, among other things (Hunger, 1997).

What is the purpose of an Instructors' Manual? An instructors' manual serves two primary purposes:

  • It enables an instructor to determine whether a case is suitable for her/his course, in terms of level of students, recommended course, industry and subject, and/or types of analysis that can be used;

  • It gives the instructor sufficient grounding in pedagogy that he/she can teach the case effectively, including discussion questions, typical responses from different qualities of student preparation, and discussion of the applications of theory/course models. Additionally, the instructors' manual demonstrates the research aspect of case writing by including research methodology as well as the relationship of case data to current theory. (Vega, Sherman & Leach, 2009, p. 99)

The instructor’s manual (IM) provides not only a summary of the case and the answer to any case questions that the case writer may provide at the end of the case but also includes pedagogical tools to support case instruction including learning objectives, course placement, instructional methodology, grading rubrics and analyses not covered by case questions. (Sherman & Vega, 2007). The IM addresses how the case should be taught (target audience, methodologies, problem focus with case questions) as well as how to evaluate whether students have learned what the teaching objectives state they ought to have learned. The job of the IM writer in developing a teaching note (TN) is to ask what the instructor should be teaching, what students should learn from that instruction, and then how the instructor should assess that learning. The IM needs to tie case learning objectives to the suggested assessment instruments while ensuring that the assessment process is valid and reliable (Vega, Sherman & Leach, 2009). Hunger (1997, p.8) also noted that the IM serves as a marketing tool for the case.

The value of a case is therefore often determined by the quality and completeness of the teaching note. As a result, you should use the teaching note to generate interest in reading your case. Use it to highlight the important (and hopefully controversial) issues with which it deals. Indicate why the case is unique and should be adopted for use.

A typical outline of an IM is as follows:

  • Overview/Synopsis/Abstract

  • Intended Audience, Recommended Courses, and Placement

  • Learning Objectives

  • Discussion Questions

  • Teaching Strategies

  • Literature Review, Theory and Recommended Readings

  • Answering Discussion Questions

  • Epilogue (Vega, 2013)

Naumes and Naumes (2013) provided a more detailed outline which includes prerequisite knowledge needed to analyze the case, research methodology employed, suggested level of responses per question (i.e. “A” level answer versus “C” level answer) and exhibits for instructor’s use (i.e. handouts, data workouts).

There are undoubtedly several ethical issues surrounding the IM that case writers need to be cognizant of when constructing the IM. Interestingly enough, the first question is, “what should come first, the case or the IM?”

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