At a Glance


  • STEM
  • Biology

Instructional Level

  • University


  • Genetics

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Individual
  • Whole Class

Type of Tasks

  • Discussing
  • Solving problems
  • Analyzing
  • Creating & designing

Technical Details


  • Semester long

Instructional Purpose

  • Application & knowledge building


In this interrupted case study, students take on the role of a geneticist helping an individual recently diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. By working through the case study, students learn to approach the genetics of cystic fibrosis from multiple perspectives, and also develop soft skills such as scientific literacy and communication through reading and writing exercises.

Over the course of the semester, students complete six modules that explore the different genetic aspects of cystic fibrosis. Module 1 establishes the case study scenario, providing students with relevant background information, while Modules 2-6 build on the initial scenario, adding information that challenges students to connect disparate genetics concepts together.

A guest lecture at the end of the semester with a cystic fibrosis researcher helps to consolidate the information students learned throughout the modules, and provides students with an opportunity to learn about current genetic research related to cystic fibrosis treatment and management.

Instructional Objectives

  • Be able to combine genetics concepts together to interpret the genetic basis of cystic fibrosis;
  • Be able to communicate the genetic aspects of cystic fibrosis to both lay and expert audiences.

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

View on CourseFlow

Contributor's Notes

  • Contextualizes abstract genetic concepts using a relevant, real-world scenario;
  • Helps students identify links between seemingly disparate genetic topics covered throughout the semester;
  • Provides an opportunity for students to practice scientific writing.
  • Grading: many of the assignments took more time than anticipated to grade;
  • Consistency of case study information: because the course was team-taught, the depth of case study information covered for each module differed among the instructors.
  • Modify the assignments to reflect course resources (e.g., TA availability and workload.);
  • Incorporate the case study material into the course lecture content so that there is a strong connection between the case study modules and the genetics concepts being taught. This can help to minimize discrepancies in team-taught courses;
  • Case study modules 2-5 can be reordered depending on the content covered within a particular genetics course.