Your paying students sign on for the core content (and support) you've promised in an online course so that they can get to their goals.
When you can also incorporate surprises and unexpected value, you'll have students who are more likely to persevere through the murky middle of a complex course. They'll become your accomplished graduates and a valuable source of success stories.
One way to add surprise and value is to bring in guest experts. While students may enter the class expecting you to be the chief “know-it-all” in the classroom, that’s a tall order for any teacher, and there are always going to be areas in which a guest expert can impart extra wisdom.
Here are four ways to incorporate a guest expert into your course and add value your students will appreciate.
1. Bring in a guest expert to do a deep-dive lecture on one aspect of the course.
Think about what you're teaching, and identify aspects where a deeper dive would be appreciated.
In the Teach What You Do eCourse Blueprint, I've done this by bringing in guests on a number of deep-dive topics: sales page copywriting, legal aspects of online teaching, and launching are a few examples.
What are the elements of your topic that your students would appreciate getting additional explanation on, and who do you know that’s perfect for teaching this?
2. Bring in a guest expert to present as a case study related to your course topic.
Do you have a peer in your field (or a past student) who is doing the work (or play) your students are hoping to achieve themselves?
Bring him or her in, and highlight what life is like after the course as evidence by their story. Talk about benefits, challenges, and how-tos that will keep your students motivated on their own path.
For example, if you were teaching Travel on a Budget, bring in a student who has followed your course, and highlight what life is like after the course as evidence by their story. Talk about benefits, challenges, and how-tos that will keep your students motivated on their own path.
3. Bring in a guest expert you can interview to add illustrative “texture and interest.”
What are the byways of your course topic that your students would love to see illustrated in a variety of ways and in greater detail?
When I was teaching scrapbook page design in my membership at Get It Scrapped, I brought in guest designers every month. It gave my students the opportunity to see the lessons they'ed received put to work in a variety of ways. This is especially important for students who are developing their own talents and aiming for their own original creations.
4. Bring in a guest expert who will do a Q&A with your students on a particular aspect of the course.
Think about the aspects of your course topic that bring out the most pressing questions, concerns and worries for your students.
Of course YOU can (and should) answer these questions, but now consider whether there are some sub-topics for which a second voice would be helpful.
Maybe you’re teaching copywriting and you bring in a second expert to answer everything about writing headlines. Maybe you’re teaching photography and want to bring in someone who really knows portraiture and someone else who really knows still life.
Get thinking on the “experts” you could bring in to your class
Your core content should give your students all they need to get to their goals. The guest experts come in to provide added context, deeper dives, and, quite often, inspiration and motivation as your students do the work of getting their own transformations.