Teaching Commons > Teaching Guides > Instructional Methods > Guest Speakers
College Made Whole: Integrative Learning for a Divided World (2019), Chris W. Gallagher argues it’s the responsibility of instructors and institutions to regularly incorporate opportunities for students to connect and synthesize their learning. As Gallagher describes, one way to help students connect and synthesize their knowledge is by inviting professionals to discuss the application of concepts and skills in the course or program (69-70, 118-119).
Zoom+ and Trimodal classrooms, you can easily invite guest speakers by sharing your class Zoom meeting link and inviting your guest speaker to give a presentation, engage with students in a Q&A session, or facilitate other learning activities. The strategies below will help students feel connected with guest speakers and prepare guest speakers for interaction with students.
To prevent possible misunderstandings and ensure your guest speaker shows up at the right place and time, consider the following tips:
To make the best possible use of your guest speaker's time, you'll want to identify specific goals and activities in advance. Examples include
Sharing this type of information with students
and your guest speaker will help ensure everyone is better prepared to make the most of the meeting. You may also find it helpful to share a a copy of your course syllabus with the speaker so they better understand the focus of your course as they prepare for the meeting.
Provide a biography statement or samples of work/information on the guest speaker so students are more familiar with their work or stance on the concepts at hand. This could include
Allow students to post questions in D2L prior to the speaking date. Work with students to refine their questions for clarity or to highlight course concepts. There are several tools you can use to help students share their questions.
Make sure to be intentional about the way you involve students in guest speaker discussions. If it isn’t clear how or when students should participate, they will likely be more passive. Outline how to participate and, if possible, share a tentative schedule with students and indicate where you might break for questions. If you don't plan to address questions as they arise, encourage students to keep notes or write their questions down so that they can refer to specific concepts the speaker has addressed during a Q&A break.
You might also use live polls during the guest speaker's presentation or Q&A session to make it more engaging and interactive. See the Polling page in this section of the training for some additional tips on incorporating polls.
There are also approaches and technologies that will allow you to capture insights from outside experts and share them asynchronously with students.
For this approach, you would meet one-on-one with the guest speaker via Zoom. When you record your Zoom meeting, Zoom will save both a video version of the recording and an audio-only version. (The file name for the audio-only version will end in .m4a.) You can then share the video or audio recording with students in your D2L course. Consider asking students to complete a follow-up reflection exercise to engage with what they heard.
These are some tools that would allow students to engage in an asynchronous discussion with a guest speaker: