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Guest Experts

by Evelyn Beck

EVEN ON-LINE, THE voice of a single course instructor can grow wearisome over the length of a semester. One way to pique student interest, and invigorate your own teaching, is to invite guest experts to interact with your class via Internet bulletin boards or chat rooms. The Internet makes it easier for guest experts to participate. They do not have to live locally, making it possible for someone from New South Wales, Australia, for example, to join a group of nursing students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And asking guests to respond on-line to student comments over several days at their convenience is less demanding than requesting them to deliver a presentation during your on-campus class meeting. Whom should you invite?

John Foltz, who supplements his on-campus junior/senior level agribusiness management course with an Internet component at the University of Idaho in Moscow, uses his industry contacts to find agribusiness managers, lenders or consultants. This process, he admits, is time consuming. Each guest expert mails in a discussion question, which Foltz posts on-line. Then the students engage in an asynchronous, threaded discussion, first with the expert, then among themselves. Foltz emphasizes finding topics

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