Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Star lecturer, local tutor

Listened to another TWIG podcast while running. One of the topics led them to discuss iTunesU and how it has the potential to change the way education is done. "Star lecturer, local tutors" was an idea fleshed out by Jeff Jarvis, one of the contributors. As I was on the treadmill listening to the conversation, I realized this is exactly what many of the big churches are doing right now. Mars Hill, Life Church, North Point...they really use the "star lecturer, local tutor" paradigm. Is this the natural result of the technology available? Is this good? Bad? Neither?

I thought about Campus Crusade and what the implications are for us. Are we the local tutors for college students? Or do we as staff aspire to the "star lecturer" role? I doubt it.

But perhaps there is an opportunity for us. We don't have just one star lecturer, we have tons. They are spread out all over the country and world, but they all have our DNA of "win, build, send" built in to them. If they lived down the street from us, we would have them speak at our campus weekly meeting as often as they would come. What if we began to use the available technology to have talks given via distance? My first thought was just other nearby universities in our region. What if a speaker in Bozeman, MT gave a talk on Wed night and knew that not only MSU would be watching, but WSU and UI as well? The speaker could connect with the audience in front of them as well as the distance audience. We could expose our students to the best in the region, yet not need the expense of travel and the associated financial and emotional cost on the speaker and local ministry.

There are technology and cost issues to be addressed, as well as learning how to present well (both by the speaker and the distance audience) in this new medium. I've also thought about development. If we show a distance speaker, it is one less chance for the local staff to be developed. But I have a feeling that gifted communicators will find themselves with opportunity to develop, and those that don't have the raw material to be great speakers will be able to focus on areas where their strengths can be utilized. It also could reduce stress on small staff teams that need to think about quality talks at their weekly meeting every week.

What would be the objective of doing this? It's not just putting on a better weekly meeting. It's building our DNA in to our campus movements, expanding our vision from our campus to the region, country, and world, and it's exposing our movements to great communicators. That's good for students and staff.

Step one seems to be trying this out with a narrow focus. Perhaps recording a weekly meeting talk in one location, putting it on Vimeo/other, and then showing it at another weekly meeting the following day/week. Are there any additional factors to consider?

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