My colleagues and I are saying goodbye this summer to the fictional suburb of Anchovy, Columbia, where we set a number of simulations/case studies over the past half decade. These were written for our bread-and-butter undergraduate course to help students satisfy the state's older list of competencies for new teachers, and now that the competencies have changed, we used that as a reason to review (and change) the assignments.
On the one hand, I will very much appreciate not having to work with colleagues to figure out how to write a brand-new dilemma every year for Orlando Quieto and his colleagues at Anchovy Middle School, how to align the fictional controversy to everything we ask students to do, let alone write a narrative that is more engaging than typical academic prose. Instead of a single rather-awkward assignment, we are moving to several shorter papers that are better aligned with key course objectives. If the framework we pilot this summer works out, we will need to find current issues for every semester, but that's much easier than writing a case every year. (If you want to write about the droopy-pants bill currently on our governor's desk, or about SES desegregation in Raleigh, North Carolina, sign up for one of the few remaining slots in my section!)
But on the other hand, I'll miss having an excuse for even small bits of creative writing in the service of instruction. I enjoyed the times when I took the lead in writing the case narrative, even if lots of other things about the assignment were suboptimal. One of my colleagues has suggested we can still do something with Anchovy, and maybe we can. Especially if they stop putting industrial effluent in the Sterup River near the Section 8 apartments in town.