What guest lecturers want

With guest lecturers being essential for any professional course now, Knowledge finds out what these educators expect from the students in the class

What guest lecturers want

This morning, an editor delivered a guest lecture to master’s level students of communication and journalism. She was happy with the fact that the students were well informed about who was coming and towards the end of the lecture were free enough to ask the questions they wanted answers to. Yet, she had a complaint. “They were ill-informed about what the industry tends to look like today. Moreover, I have an issue with the fact that postgraduate students will not spend the time to know which publications exist in the city. I mean, these are the places that they are going to look for internships and later on, jobs. The least they can do is research the names of the newspapers at least!” she roars towards the end.

It is not always that bad. “In fact, at least a few students among 50 are always prepared with answers to questions, and are updated,” informs Rehana Johri, who visits two or three colleges every year to talk about her experiences in advertising. “Sometimes I feel that we expect too much out of them, and sometimes I get happy when a few of them show interest,” she adds.

Many guest faculty at colleges share such experiences, but it boils down to one thing – a little bit of preparation on the students’ part. “Not just the students,” states Johri, “the management as well. They need to inform the students at least a day or two in advance with the proper bio of the lecturer and what to expect from him or her.” She says that will give them enough time to look up the credentials of the person to ask the right questions, assuming that the students are proactive enough to do this. Usually, according to many, students are lazy enough to consider this experience as a one-off since there are no assignments involved.

That brings us to one of the other problems. “Students are so marks oriented that they cannot think beyond the course and their results. The idea of real life strikes them very late. Even if the undergrad students are young and cannot get it, at least the post grad students need to understand the significance of interacting with the industry,” says Shusheela Jayraman, who teaches writing to journalism students. She adds that these students then get in touch with these faculty members at the end of their study programme looking for placements or assistance in their job hunt.

The teachers say that even if the students put some effort before these classes, they can gain much more from the sessions, making them more interactive, rather than have them as the download of a monologue over an hour and a half.

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