Open Case Studies

What is the Open Case Studies (OCS) project?

The Open Case Studies project is an educational resource that educators can use in the classroom to teach students how to effectively derive knowledge from data in real-world challenges.

What problem are we addressing?

Despite unprecedented and growing interest in data science on campuses, there are few courses and course materials that provide meaningful opportunity for students to learn about real-world challenges. Most courses frequently fail to frame the lectures around a real-world application and provide unrealistically clean datasets that fit the assumptions of the methods in an unrealistic way. The result is that students are left unable to effectively analyze data and solve real-world challenges outside of the classroom.

Problems with previously suggested solutions

In 1999, Nolan and Speed argued the solution was to teach courses through in-depth case studies derived from interesting problems, with nontrivial solutions that leave room for different analyses. This innovative framework teaches the student to make important connections between the scientific question, data and statistical concepts that only come from hands-on experience analyzing data. However, these case studies based on realistic challenges, not toy examples, are scarce.

What are we proposing as a solution?

To address this, we are developing the Open Case Studies educational resource of case studies, which demonstrate illustrative data analyses that can be used in the classroom to teach students how to effectively derive knowledge from data. This approach has successfully been used to teach data science courses at many universities, including:

Open Case Studies

Available Open Case Studies

We are actively working on creating case studies and this is the current available list:

Use the Open Case Studies

If you use one of the Open Case Studies in the classroom, please use the digital object identifier (DOI) for the citation. A link to the full citation is provided next to each case study.

Contribute to Open Case Studies

If you would like to contribute a case study to the repository, or have suggestions on data sets to use to build a case study around, please contact us!

OCS Search

Bloomberg American Health Initiative Sponsored

Recent Posts

Welcome Qier Meng and Michael Breshock to OCS Team!

Welcome Qier Meng and Michael Breshock to the OCS Team! Qier and Michael have recently joined our team as Research Assistants to assist …

Looking for a Student to Join the OCS Team!

The Johns Hopkins Data Science Lab is seeking a Master’s student to assist with a project to create interactive elements for existing …

Welcome Carrie Wright to OCS Team!

In September 2019, we welcomed Carrie Wright to the OCS Team as a Research Associate faculty in the Johns Hopkins Data Science Lab …




Stephanie Hicks, PhD

Assistant Professor (Principal Investigator)


Leah Jager, PhD

Assistant Scientist


Margaret Taub, PhD

Associate Scientist


Carrie Wright, PhD

Research Associate


John Muschelli, PhD

Associate Scientist

Research Assistants

OCS Alumni

Recent & Upcoming Talks