Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Contextualizing Expertise: A Strategy For Maximizing Guest Lectures

Guest lecturers contribute expertise, novel perspectives, and real-world experiences.
Effective use of a guest’s time is important to students, instructors, and the guests
themselves. In order to maximize such a visit, I prepare students ahead of time, provide
support for engagement during the event, and spend time after the experience working
with students to relate new knowledge and skills to course goals and learning objectives.
For this Teaching Strategy Swap, I will share materials I use to prepare students for a
guest lecture, facilitate engagement during a visit, and contextualize new knowledge and
skills in the broader content of the course. Every semester, I ask practitioners to talk
about their work. Topics range from practical applications to exploratory research, and
students say that guest lectures give them a new appreciation for course material. Guest
lectures are often engaging and interesting; with preparation, they can also be powerful
teaching strategies.

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Herckis, Lauren