Episode 21

"Guest Room"

Duration 00:15:53      Recorded on April 25, 2007

Susan demonstrates how to bridge a guest expert into an online course, while having an engaging conversation with Dr. Norman Garrett about how his teaching practices have changed as a result of technology over the last few years.

Show Notes:

Susan goes solo because she and Dan can't get their schedules to synch up. She has two objectives for this special edition:

  1. as an example of what one could do to incorporate a guess lecturer or an expert into an online course
  2. specifically for use with a course Susan teaches.

The students are examining online learning in general. This exposure to a guest lecturer is a teaching methodology and today the guest is going to talk about how his teaching has changed over the past 5 years as a result of technology. And THAT relates to almost every listener we have, so I decided to share this with the broader audience.

Finding a good guest is a challenge. He has to know about the topic you need; be an expert. He has to know how to interact with your students, either in the synchronous or asynchronous environment. And, he has to have the time! Susan found the perfect guest!

Dr. Norman Garrett is currently a professor of Computer Information Systems in the School of Business at Eastern Illinois University, where he teaches courses in programming, networking and management information systems. But more importantly, Susan knows Norm because they teach the same course for a faculty development program through the University of Illinois and they share a love of gadgets.

Norm's been teaching online for 5 years and has a preference for the blended or hybrid approach. He teaches upper division and graduate classes.

Broadly, what's changed in your practice over the past 5 years? For starters, the student familiarity with some of the tools. Originally students were not familiar with tools, and today they know (and some know more than us!) Students are more accustomed to working collaboratively, as well. Colleagues also know more and have richer ideas about what online courses should be like.

How did colleagues get smarter? Norm preaches the message whenever he can :-) but some have taken a hard look at what a good course is. Norm says the best thing to do before teaching is to be an online student.

Norm's students work with podcasts, and he rarely has to explain what that means. Same with RSS (which he uses liberally.) Our collective vocabulary has grown.

Norm explains how he uses RSS as a social networking concept, increasing connections between students. RSS allows for peer-peer collaboration and sharing (and generating) content. Very interesting explanation! This can take some time to train students on how to use the technology. Norm talked about a student who occasionally comes back and posts on the blogs.

As for what technology he's giving up, Norm is moving away from PowerPoint as we've known it. He reviews the history, the pros and cons.

Now what should listeners do? If you are listening as one of Susan's students, you need to either post an epiphany you had listening to Norm OR ask him a question within our course. The deadlines and more specific instructions are posted in the course.

About Us

The LT Green Room is a podcast for Renewal, Retooling and Conversations about Learning. It is co-hosted by Susan Manning and Dan Balzer and its show topics are often drawn from members of LearningTimes.org, a free online community of education and training professionals from across the globe. The LT Green Room gives listeners (and ourselves) an opportunity to reflect on what they're doing behind the scene that results in an effective learning experience.


Co-Host & Producer
Susan Manning
Co-Host & Producer
Dan Balzer
Executive Producer
Carl Heine
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