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Teaching Tip: Expanding OM Class Experiences with Virtual Guest Lecturers

March 26, 2017

“Much of our work as educators,” writes Faculty Focus, “consists of designing and delivering experiences in which students can develop their understanding and application of concepts and skills in our disciplines.” Given that we have only 15-16 weeks with our students, we need various ways for deepening and expanding these formative experiences in operations management. Visiting experts can be a wonderful way of developing expertise, and leveraging online tools like Skype and Zoom can open up powerful possibilities for learning and conversation. One goal is to shrink the distance between the students and the speakers by pulling back the wizard’s curtain between the “expert” and the student.

Skype and Zoom are both great choices for hosting virtual guest speakers. Fear not technology. Just do some test runs, perhaps with consultation from your tech-support staff.

An interview format can be helpful. For one, it requires little preparation time for your guest. This format also keeps the conversation grounded in student’s questions and learning, and it keeps the tone more informal, which is engaging for students. You can prepare students beforehand by having them develop questions based on the work of the expert. Have them then reflect on the guest’s insights following the visit.

Jay, Chuck, and I are also here to help. We are happy to give virtual guest lectures to your classes on almost any topic–or in a Q&A format. Your choice. As you plan your summer or fall syllabi, just drop one of us an email. I am at Jay is at And Chuck is at

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