1.8 The ‘Hotseat’ expert guest


Hotseat Pattern Archetype


Based on the Ultraversity Project, this collection of patterns identifies the key innovations developed to teach an undergraduate programme of some 300 student researchers, supported entirely online and having collaboration between learners as a central component.

The Essence of the Problem

Requiring learners to determine the focus and subject content of their action inquiries raises particular challenges about how they can be supported in relation to specialist knowledge applicable to the context of their studies.  The essence of this problem is how to bring additional expert knowledge in to the online community of inquiry around a specific topic or theme.

The Problem in Detail

The online community of inquiry may not have all of the expertise required to support the learner in their studies, neither is it efficient to arrange for experts to support a learner on a one-to-one basis.  Expertise might be required from practitioners and academics on a diverse range of topics including theory, learning processes, research methods,  methodologies, etc.

The Solution

Bring external expertise to the community of inquiry on specific topics through an online, asynchronous discussion forum.  A high degree of relevance is achieved through framing a discourse that is lead by student researcher questions to which the expert responds.  Thehotseat guest responds in such a way as to relate specific questions to theories, concepts and ideas from their their given topic.  This includes references to research, professional bodies, networks that can be joined and other sources of information.  Other community members  share their relevant experience asking questions and offering feedback with the intention of exploring issues through their grounded professional practice or simple desire to learn.

Hotseat format:
1. engage in dialogue with the student researchers to inform the topics for Hotseat expert guests;
2. fix and advertise a two week period for the hotseat to run over;
3. instruct the expert to provide a short biography and a 250 word introduction to his hotseat topic;
4. supply the expert with instructions on how to access the hotseat and inform them of expectations of their participation;
5. the expectation is that the expert will will log into the hotseat at least every other day (except for weekends and public holidays) over the two week duration of the hoseat and respond to all questions posed;
6. learners read questions and responses before asking a question to avoid repetition and seek to share their own experiences in response to others;
7. at the end of the hotseat, a summary should pull together key ideas, disagreements, and resource references;
8. hotseat is archived as a resource for participants and subsequent student researchers.

Nadine has been looking at different action-inquiry models from a theoretical perspective but has no experience of applying them in practice.  She would like some advice about the application of these different approaches to her own inquiries.  The hotseat expert replies to Nadine agreeing that there are many to choose from.  “I usually design an action research process to suit the situation and the intention of the research.  Where possible I like to do this in conjunction with the other participants in the project.  Each of the action research methodologies has its particular advantages and disadvantages – take a look at these web resources that evaluate different approaches.  I can often design a process which incorporates the advantages of several.  In this regard participatory action research can be a generic process into which other processes can be integrated.  For instance, I like the models and processes of action science for developing a critical and supportive climate in the research team.  I agree with DonaldSchon that reflection is important, including the “reflection-in-action” that he encourages.  For some purposes appreciative inquiry is useful in developing a positive and energetic atmosphere.  And so on.”

Reflection on use

In practice, it requires a high degree of organisation to arrange a programme of hotseats that run throughout a programme that are timely for student researchers needs and related to individual modules.  The use of archivehotseats helps address some of these challenges although not being an interactive discussion, some the value is lost.  Staff also gain a great deal from thehotseats as both passive observers and participants in discussions as a part of their own CPD building the overall capacity of the community as action inquirers.

Related patterns

1.1 Organise learning places
1.2 Team Teaching
1.3 Exhibition for Dissertation
1.4 Workplace advocate
1.5 Action Learning Set
1.6 Patchwork ‘Media’
1.7 Personalised Learning Contract
1.8 The ‘Hotseat’ expert guest
1.9 Nurture Online Community of Inquiry


6 responses to “1.8 The ‘Hotseat’ expert guest

  1. Pingback: Hotseat - learning with technology future-gazing… « Masters in Learning with Technology

  2. Pingback: Masters in Learning with Technology - technology reflection…

  3. Am I lost?

  4. Only a little bit Margaret and it is a good place to get lost!

  5. I find this hot seat site very interesting and would like to use some of it for the FD in Management of Administration. Is this okay?

  6. Yes please do, help yourself to anything that is helpful or interesting.

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