Document Type

Course Outline / Syllabus

Publication Date



School of Social Work


Syllabus and lecture slides for a revised social work practice course on diagnosing with the DSM-5 using case studies and active learning techniques to enhance student engagement.

The following syllabus and lecture slides were completed as part of the Newer Faculty Learning Center (NFLC) grant to increase the use of high-impact content and pedagogy among new faculty. The syllabus and lectures slides provide an example of how to embed case studies, an evidence-based teaching (EBT) strategy (Herreid, 2011), into a social work foundation practice course on diagnosing with the DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). This particular EBT was implemented primarily to enhance student engagement using short vignettes to cover various diagnostic categories throughout the lecture as well as a longer case study vignettes that were completed in a group at the end of each lecture; the longer case study was selected from the assigned clinical assessment workbook (Pomeroy, 2015).

To increase student participation, the longer case study vignettes were listed at the beginning of the quarter in the syllabus under pre-lecture activities in the course calendar section. These were checked weekly in class to earn participation points. The lectures were designed to enhance engagement by summarizing complex DSM-5 criteria prior to reviewing the vignettes in addition to using several images to improve recall. Furthermore, several videos were utilized to highlight nuances of various psychological disorders, and students were given additional resources for follow up in the references section of each lecture consisting of podcasts, YouTube videos, and TED Talks. The attached lectures include content covering Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorder, Depressive Disorders, and Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed., [DSM-5]). Washington, DC: APA.

Herreid, C. F. (2011). Case study teaching. New directions for teaching and learning, 2011(128), 31-40.

Pomeroy, E. (2015). Clinical assessment workbook: Balancing strengths and differential diagnosis (2nd ed.). Boston: Cengage Learning. ISBN-13: 978-1285748887, ISBN-10: 1285748883.


The attached file includes the syllabus as well as lecture slides for three lectures covering diagnostic categories including Disruptive and Impulse-Control and Conduct Disorders, Depressive Disorders, and Trauma-and Stressor-Related Disorders.