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Guest lecturers – a good opportunity for hybrid teaching

An audience of students sitting in a classroom listening.

Photo by M.Accelertor on Unsplash

It is not necessarily the students who need to join a lecture via Zoom; sometimes the lecturer is the one taking part remotely. This is very practical for guest lecturers who are very far away and can thereby avoid a long trip. It also opens up opportunities for simple collaborations between higher education institutions.

The solution will be different depending on whether it is a guest lecture for a small group of students in a seminar, or a lecture in a large hall. However, in both cases, the teaching staff member responsible for organising the lecture is also in charge of the technology. That needs to be borne in mind.

For the guest lecturer

When planning the lecture, you need to agree with the guest lecturer on the technology to be used and ensure that they are familiar with the platform. Zoom is to be preferred, but there is plenty to consider if you want to hold a Zoom meeting with someone from outside your own University. If the guest lecturer is in a different time zone, you need to find a time that best suits everyone, which could be an evening Zoom lecture. In addition, you need to show the lecturer or the presentation they are sharing on a large screen so that everyone can see. It is also appropriate to agree on how and when questions will be taken from the audience: during the lecture or in a Q&A session afterwards. 

Read the guide in Canvas on what you need to think about in Zoom when you have external participants

For the students 

You need to determine and communicate the rules that apply to the lecture. Is the Zoom room open so that students who wish to attend the lecture via Zoom can do so, or is the lecture happening in a lecture room with only the guest lecturer taking part online? If you have several activities on campus that day, it may not be advisable to allow some students to attend online. Of course you should also inform the students that the lecture/seminar is taking place with the remote participation of the guest lecturer.

For the course lecturer 

You will probably have to act as an intermediary for questions, so ask the students to write their questions in the chat window for you to pass on to the guest lecturer. If you are in a small group in a seminar room, a general discussion often works well, as a conference camera with a good microphone can pick up sound from everyone around the seminar table. Few lecture rooms have microphones that can manage this. Set up the technology, test it ahead of the event and communicate information about how to join the Zoom meeting well in advance.

Many advantages

Online guest lectures are something we should utilise even after the pandemic, as they are simple to arrange and for everyone to join in. In addition, they are environmentally friendly. Hopefully, it will be possible to organise more lectures with interesting guest speakers who otherwise would not have time to come to Lund. You can imagine other similar events, such as shared seminars with colleagues in the subject at another higher education institution. Similarly, it is possible to arrange degree project presentations with an online external reviewer, in collaboration with another higher education institution. A student who knows from the outset that they are writing their degree project for a reader at another university will hopefully concentrate even more on their writing.

Technical support

The technical conditions for hybrid teaching vary between the university's different premises. If you need support, contact your local IT unit or LU Service Desk:

LU Servicedesk
Phone: 046-222 90 00
servicedesk [at] lu [dot] se
Opening hours: Monday-Friday, 8-17