This study examined the perceptions and experiences of students when using virtual guest speakers in their classes. In addition, it examined the benefits of having such speakers in the classroom. The study used a survey administered to 406 university students. Of this sample, 130 students reported their experience with virtual guest speakers. The participants were mainly female, upper-level, and non-first-generation students.
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1. Lessons from the pandemic
The first step in creating a successful virtual guest speaker program is to identify the purpose of the event. It is also helpful to identify outcomes that will be addressed by the guest speaker. Once the purpose and outcomes have been established, it is time to find the right guest speaker. This can be done by conducting a web search or by networking with other professionals in the field. A simple Facebook post may also be an effective way to connect with a guest speaker.
One of the benefits of virtual forums is that they multiply speaker exposure, which increases audience engagement. A virtual speaker may also be able to reach a wider audience in a shorter time. Typically, a virtual guest speaker will spend no more than two hours with attendees. Another advantage of this type of event is that the speaker will not have to travel to a physical event to deliver a presentation.
An effective virtual guest speaker program should also be focused on a common theme. A common theme in these programs is international affairs. International affairs experts like Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, will discuss the impact of the pandemic on geopolitics. As the pandemic continues to spread throughout the world, relationships between the world’s biggest players will shape the course of the global response.
2. Perceptions of virtual guest speakers
Student perceptions of virtual guest speakers are varied. Most respondents thought that the presence of an external resource person enhanced student learning, while others were less satisfied with virtual guest speakers. However, they did indicate that virtual guest speakers allow students to ask questions at their convenience. However, students should be aware that they can still face a range of challenges when utilizing virtual guest speakers.
To assess the student perspective on virtual guest speakers, a survey was conducted to compare the experiences of students of different universities and courses. Students were asked to rate the perceived strengths and weaknesses of a virtual guest speaker and a face-to-face speaker. A large percentage of students rated both as equal, while a small minority rated each as better or worse.
Besides student perceptions, another important factor to evaluate guest speakers is the content. Studies have shown that students respond best to topics covered by a guest speaker who is highly qualified and has a relevant background. Students should also have the opportunity to interact with the guest speaker during the lecture.
3. Resources for locating a virtual guest speaker
The Internet can be a powerful resource for locating a virtual guest speaker. There are several online directories that can help you find a qualified speaker. One of these directories, MERLOT Virtual Speakers Bureau, has an extensive database of virtual speakers. A simple search will provide a list of possible candidates who can speak at your school or organization.
Another resource is your school’s alumni network. Former students and alumni can be excellent resources for finding a virtual guest speaker. In fact, many authors now offer virtual visits. Kate Messner, for example, offers virtual author visits and events. Your school’s alumni network can provide you with a list of people in the community who can speak to your students.
When looking for a virtual guest speaker, it’s important to make sure that they have the right background and experience for the role. Most virtual events are held using digital platforms, which can be quite complicated. A speaker should be comfortable with these platforms, as they may need a little training to be effective.
Benefits of having a virtual guest speaker in your classroom
If you’re a teacher looking for ways to bring an expert into your classroom, you may want to consider having a virtual guest speaker visit your class. Virtual guest speakers can help you to make your lessons more engaging and educational. When choosing a virtual guest, make sure they fit into your class’ curriculum. Choosing a guest whose area of expertise is closely related to yours can make for a more interesting guest.
You should have an idea of what the guest speaker will talk about and make sure your students know what they can expect from them before the guest speaker arrives. This way, they can focus on understanding the content of the speaker’s presentation instead of being confused about what they’re listening to.
In the end, the next step is to prepare the guest speaker for the class by giving them plenty of lead time and materials to share with students. In addition, you may want to include an email address where students can contact the guest speaker with questions.