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Bringing Guest Discussants Online Through the MERLOT Virtual Speakers Bureau Alice Bedard-Voorhees Normal Alice Bedard-Voorhees 5 69 2004-10-30T00:36:00Z 2004-10-30T17:01:00Z 2 604 3446 28 8 4042 10.2625 BestFit Clean Clean MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

Bringing Guest Discussants Online through the MERLOT Virtual Speakers Bureau

An Introduction and an Invitation

Online Guest Discussant Potential:
Unique Expertise/ Knowledge / Perspective / Reinforcement / Excitement

Instructional Events:

A Community College of Colorado Online's music faculty invited a tenor from the Metropolitan opera as a guest speaker to connect the class subject matter to a larger context of opera in 21st century America. The guest prepared a written lecture that detailed the unique experience of what it was like to grow up in the opera and responded to student questions.

Another class brought in a professional storyteller who discussed how the elements of good jokes and stories translate to written narratives.

In a course for adult basic and secondary educators, adult literacy and math specialists discussed techniques for meeting various learning challenges.

Community and Faculty Development Events:

Several sections of Spanish Classes brought their classes together in a guest auditorium to visit with two guests born in Spain.

Authors of The Virtual Student visited a professional development book discussion.

A guest facilitator engaged educators from Brazil, Sri Lanka, England, Canada and the US who came together as peer resources inside a faculty development seminar on the how guest discussants can be brought to the online classroom.

Community members and students discussed a book all of Denver read through CCCOnline's homepage, and visited with the author.

Tips for a Successful and Enjoyable Guest Discussant Event

Pre- and During:
Identify and invite speaker(s).
Choose the discussion tool and determine how enrollment will be done.
Discuss with speakers how they will be introduced and whether they have preparatory materials for the class.
Make sure speakers have logon beforehand and are able to try it out; provide guest with phone number for assistance also.                                                                                                                              Prep class on dates they will post and participate and prepare questions.
Gather feedback through a survey or anonymous discussion topic.

Thank speaker, close discussion.
Provide a follow-up discussion or assignment to allow learners to bring the guest's contribution back to the course material.


Baron, L. (2004). Effective use of guest teachers. Retrieved on June 28, 2004, from                                                                                   

Colorado Community Colleges Online. (2004). CCCOnline virtual speakers bureau: Preparing the class. Retrieved July 29, 2004, from

Varvel, V.,Jr., & McNet, M. (2001, July/August). Guest lecturers in the online environment.
Illinois Online Network. Retrieved July 1, 2004, from

Are You a Potential Guest Discussant? Sign up at MERLOT's Site!



 Contacts: Dr. Gerard Hanley

                 Alice Bedard-Voorhees 



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