Exercise: Guest Lectures

Summary of Example Activity

Students view a synchronous guest lecture as a class via video-conferencing software or an asynchronous lecture as a class or individually via video sharing software. After the lecture is complete students can participate in a synchronous discussion with the lecturer via video-conferencing software or can participate in an asynchronous discussion with classmates on a blog or forum in a LMS. An asynchronous discussion usually requires an assigned amount of posts (3 total posts/1 new thread and 2 responses to other students’ posts/1 500 word response and 1 response to another student’s post.

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Identify the important concepts from a lecture.
  • Demonstrate critical thought about the topic.
  • Develop online intercultural communication skills
  • Explore how the main concepts are differently understood and experienced (more pronounced if the students have different training or experience).

Materials and Data Needed

Students will prepare for the guest lecture by studying related materials and/or information about the guest lecturer.

Technology Needed

If the class views a lecture as a group, synchronously, the classroom will need access to video-conferencing software, an internet connection and preferably a projector or large television. If the class views a lecture individually and asynchronously, students will need access to a video-sharing website. Asynchronous discussions require access to a blog such as WordPress, a forum on a Learning Management System such as Moodle, or a forum available in social media tools such as Facebook.

Estimated Time

A synchronous lecture and discussion session would last the length of a class period. An asynchronous lecture could last anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours. Asynchronous discussion can be opened over the course of a few days to a week to allow students the time to consider the material, post a thoughtful piece and comment on another/other student/students’ posts.


  1. If the activity requires participation in an online discussion students should are given access to the forum where they will post their reflections and comments. This should be done at least 2 weeks in advance to ensure that all students have the required hardware and software to participate and to allow time to troubleshoot any problems students may have with access.
  2. Students are given the parameters of any discussion in which they are expected to participate. They should be prepared to interact with the speaker in-class via video-conferencing, or in a discussion online. If online, students should be aware of how many posts are required for the activity and the window in which they are expected to post their reflections and comments.
  3. Students should be assigned the necessary material to prepare them to view the lecture.
  4. In the case of a synchronous lecture, students report to class as usual. In the case of an asynchronous lecture students are assigned to view the lecture either in lieu of class or outside of scheduled class time.
  5. In the case of an asynchronous lecture, students post the required reflections and comments on each other’s reflections over the course of the assigned time period.