Friday, June 18, 2010

Guest Speakers in DL Classes

The world truly is a smaller place. Our students know it. Students can speak with experts in any industry or cultural group through the use of social media. They feel comfortable emailing, SKYPE-ing or following a Twitter thread to find expert opinions, and often find those 'experts' willing to return answers to their questions.

Faculty need to realize how easy it is to bring someone from the business world into their virtual classrooms. Instructors need to take advantage of that instant communication, and help students be able to evaluate those 'expert' opinions. What kind of experts can you bring int? Really anyone is an option from authors of books, CEOs or staff from large corporations, Faculty from other institutions. Here's some ideas:

To bring in a guest speaker to a virtual classroom:

  • Use recorded videos from You Tube or Big Think (don't just post it, force students to discuss it)

  • Add a guest to a weekly discussion board to add to conversations

  • Invite students to join an Adobe Connect classroom with a speaker once or twice during a term

  • Ask outside 'experts' to review a short student submitted paper on a topic and give feedback to a group of students. (maybe have them choose the best)

Get students involved by:

  • Having them locate an expert, and interview them in a 'webinar' type of project

  • Post a video of an 'expert' on an issue, then assign groups to write/research other perspectives that dispute that expert, and present that material.

  • Get librarians involved to help students formulate a process for critically evaluating information, and understanding what is valid, and what isn't.

Opening up your virtual classroom to outside experts gets students motivated to learn a topic, and gives them feedback from a variety of sources.

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