• Cheryl Newton University of Waterloo
  • Christine Moresoli
  • Mary Robinson
  • Katharina Hassel


Both teaching and learning from case studies enriches the engineering curriculum by connecting the classroom to real world complexities. A case study about the 2008 Listeriosis outbreak at the Maple Leaf Foods facility in Toronto was developed for the Food Process Engineering course, ChE 564. ChE 564 is a fourth-year technical elective in Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo (Waterloo), offered once every winter term. The Listeriosis case was developed by Waterloo Cases in Design Engineering (WCDE) from publicly-available sources.
The WCDE Listeriosis case study has been used in four offerings of ChE 564 by three instructors, from 2013 to 2016. Factors that influenced the successful transfer of teaching material are explored using instructor reflection, classroom observations, and student feedback. The three instructors reflected on these factors between each offering of the course and adapted their teaching methodologies to align with the learning outcomes for the course.
The evolution of the WCDE Listeriosis case study and its longevity will be discussed over the four course offerings. Issues such as student expectations, the role of the instructor, the open-ended nature of the case, class size, and class engagement are discussed as well. The success and challenges of the Listeriosis case study have broader implications on the difficulties of transferring material between terms and instructors while balancing variation for different cohorts. One challenge when developing case study material is balancing the time invested with the rewards in the classroom and the uptake by different instructors and/or courses.