Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Who are you again? Oh, the guest speaker

Going to class day-to-day is part of the college experience, with the usual tests and quizzes popping up out of the blue and the rare chances professors let students out of class early. However, on the rarer side, professors may bring in a guest speaker to have a discussion with the class to provide insight into a topic, major or career path post-graduation, but the benefits of a guest speaker are limited if they are unfamiliar with student experiences at Augustana. 

Student experiences at Augustana involve what is required for a course and overall class rigor, but also what it’s like to experience life on-campus and speak to it. Guest speakers who are able to speak to life on-campus and how it’s impacted life outside Augustana can better relate to students.  

When professors bring people who are experts in a relevant field to talk with students, it can be exciting. Students may have a hard time understanding the material presented in class and having another person explain it may help them in the long run, but this may not be the case if the speaker is unfamiliar with the rigor of Augustana and what is expected from its students. 

Although it is not required for guest speakers to have attended Augustana, it provides them with greater insight into how they can help and relate to students. Speakers who did not attend Augustana do still have an understanding of the difficulties of attending college, but they may not be able to relate as well to student experiences at Augustana and may fail to communicate with students about a subject as well as those with similar experiences.  

Augustana’s Symposium Day or the Celebration of Learning allows current students to present their research to a group of people to showcase their findings. It provides an opportunity for students to learn outside the classroom and apply it to current classes. While some students attend, many do not, raising questions about the benefits of learning outside of the traditional classroom setting, including guest speakers. 

In situations where outside-the-classroom learning is ineffective, such as students not attending Symposium Day, it makes sense for professors to have guest speakers so they can learn while in the classroom instead of using Symposium Day as a day to not go to class. 

However, guest speakers may not be as helpful as some think they may be; for example, they may just re-hash everything the professor has already said. I don’t have much experience with guest speakers, but it did happen in my First Year Inquiry (FYI)-101 course. The speaker didn’t bring anything new to the topic we were learning as most of the questions were on how long it took them to write their newest novel rather than the lesson topic.  

Augustana inviting guest speakers to converse with its students can lead to a better understanding of the content and curiosity, but students may learn less from the speaker if they are reiterating information or cannot speak to the Augustana experience. For example, a professor wouldn’t invite someone to speak on a topic that doesn’t relate to the core content of the course. 

Having guest speakers come to Augustana is a great opportunity for students to learn more about a topic and even possibly be introduced to it, but when it comes to consistently helping students learn, there are downsides to inviting someone to speak.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Augustana Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *