Best practices for students written by students

As a student, how do you recommend other students get ready for a videoconference with a human rights stakeholder?  What types of questions should you ask?  What other tips do you have?

Comments (12)

  • Kelly Maroney

    Kelly Maroney

    May 06, 2016 at 23:01 | #

    The best tip I can offer for student preparing for a videoconferencing is to prepare with a list of topics and questions ahead of time. Students should be required to research the speaker's own work (whether its activism, teaching, writing, etc. ). From the research, students should list a minimum 5 thought provoking questions for a speaker. These questions should not have answers that could be found online, but should instead be formed to draw out the thoughts and feelings of the speaker. A brief discuss with the class after a videoconference should also occur.


  • Amanda Tran

    Amanda Tran

    May 07, 2016 at 05:52 | #

    Class discussions about the human rights stakeholder should occur before and after the videoconference. The discussion before is to help students become familiar with the topic and issue. The discussion after should be a reflection of what the students learned and what they took away from the guest speaker. Students should prepare for these videoconferences by looking into the background information about the human rights stakeholder or speaker. That information should include any articles about the speaker or even the speaker's work if accessible. A tip I would give is to find some personal connection with the speaker or try to imagine how it would feel to be in his shoes. By doing so, there will be bound to be questions about the speaker's experiences, obstacles, and factors that helped him get through the traumatic ordeal. Some of the questions that students should ask could include topics about the speaker's experience, the feelings he/she felt, what helped them get through the ordeal, what has helped them cope with their experiences today, and if they are involved in any work to share their story or to help others who are affected by the same issue. The last tip for students is do not forget to thank these speakers for their time, for speaking about the human rights issue, and for sharing their stories.


  • Christina Harris

    Christina Harris

    May 07, 2016 at 19:17 | #

    To prepare for a videoconference, students should research and read some work by the person who is going to be videoconferencing with the class, and they should come with any questions that they have based off of the reading, even if it is questions about the terminology that the person used. Anything to give the student a clear understanding about the work of the person who is going to be videoconferencing with the class. Next students, should ask questions about what the person who is videoconferencing the class is working on currently and what that person can see themselves working on next. They could ask questions about how they got interested in the type of activism that they are doing, which may or may not require the person who is videoconferencing the class to speak his/her/their own experiences. Any questions that are asked should encourage the person who is videoconferencing with the class to share his/her/their experiences by creating a welcoming environment.


  • Brianna B Uhall

    Brianna B Uhall

    May 07, 2016 at 21:34 | #

    The best way to be prepared for a videoconference is to have read that speakers background information,and whatever other articles they may have sent to you that are relevant. That way they have an idea of what the speaker is going to talk about, or what they believe in, before the videoconference has even begun. The process of formulating questions for a given speaker is best done in a group type setting. This way every one in the group can help come up with a series of questions and all agree or disagree on which ones would be relevent/beneficial to ask. Some types of questions that they could ask could be about how they got involved in the issue, or how their experiences have impacted them, etc. Basically any questions that further highlight information about this persons life or work as an activist, while maintaining a safe environment.


  • Zoe Ruehl

    Zoe Ruehl

    May 07, 2016 at 22:59 | #

    In preparing for a videoconference, students should research background information about the person(s) beforehand. They should read any of their works or previous testimonies, if possible. This will allow students to anticipate possible discussion topics and/or formulate appropriate questions for the speaker(s). They should also have several questions, in order to maintain a conversation without awkward pauses. Furthermore, these questions may include what motivated them to go into their respective field or share their personal experiences. However, it is also important to maintain a safe space during a teleconference by creating a supportive, encouraging environment.


  • Ciara Ann Daniels

    Ciara Ann Daniels

    May 07, 2016 at 23:32 | #

    First and foremost, students most come to video conferences prepared. Being prepared is important because it shows dedication and interest in the human rights issue. Preparation will allow for the student to engage with the stakeholders you are videoconferencing with, and it will show genuine curiosity and appreciation. To prepare, you should read any material provided in your class that is relevant to the human rights issue, stakeholders, and the videoconference, whether it be essays, movies, poetry, etc. It is also good to have a broad and just general understanding of the human rights issue in question, for example, it is good to stay updated on current events around the world that may be connected. Know about the stakeholders in advance – how is this person related to the human rights issue – are they directly involved, professionally connected, etc. Being properly prepared also includes coming to the videoconference with engaging questions to ask.

    It is always good to ask thought provoking questions and questions that require an in-depth answer, instead of a yes or no question. Additionally, it is important to ask questions that show you have made an effort – maybe ask about the materials provided or the person’s background.
    Since the subject matter of such videoconferences is typically sensitive, it is important to ask thought provoking questions, without overstepping boundaries. Always ask questions politely and if the question seems to be too personal or hard, you must recognize that.


  • Eve Beauchemin

    Eve Beauchemin

    May 08, 2016 at 00:43 | #

    Before talking with a presenter, it’s important to become familiar with who they are, what they have experienced (if they are the survivor of an event, knowing a little background about the event is helpful), and some of the work they have done or articles/books they have published, if any. Note things about the event or passages in written texts which are particularly striking or interesting to you, and try to come up with any questions you have about that topic--such as any additional information you would like to know, or any new thoughts you have about it. However, you do not need to stick to your pre-made questions during the talk--as you listen, let yourself think about questions or confusing points which are relevant to what is being said. Make sure to be flexible with the conversation, and attentive to the presenter. I think that these are good ways to truly engage with the speaker.


  • Christa Sonderer

    Christa Sonderer

    May 08, 2016 at 22:18 | #

    When talking to a human rights stakeholder, it is important to know some basic information about the issue and speaker before the videoconference. During the conference, you should ask questions that are not about the basic information you researched beforehand. Instead, you should ask questions that are more specific. For example, you could ask about how a stakeholder’s research (if applicable) contributes to the issue, what the stakeholder’s take is on the current research or theories on the issue, or how the stakeholder proposes that the issue be improved. Remember to always be polite and to ask your questions in a professional, non-insulting manner.


  • Vijay Karam Singh

    Vijay Karam Singh

    May 09, 2016 at 00:01 | #

    Students are able to engage in the refugee crisis or any other controversy pertaining to human rights in a number of different ways. One way that this can be tackled is by having students write a report on a certain topic that pertains to human rights. An example of this that pertains to the Syrian refugee crisis that I did is a report on the history of Doctors Without Borders and the initiatives that have succeeded and failed for them during their time there. Overall, finding diverse ways to research these topics allows for a multitude of different voices to be heard.


  • Tiffanie O

    Tiffanie O

    May 09, 2016 at 00:36 | #

    My recommendation for other students is to create a list of questions for the videoconferences. This can help to keep the conversation rolling and the speaker can use their background to answer questions. In addition, emailing the speaker to thank them after is a good tip. It shows that the class and was excited to have the speaker take time out of their day to speak to the class. Students should ask questions that are related to the speaker’s historical background. Educational and personal question are much approved and advised. Overall, these videoconferences are very productive and efficient.


  • Ali Angelo

    Ali Angelo

    May 09, 2016 at 01:45 | #

    As a student, I greatly appreciated hearing firsthand experiences from people via video conference. I personally did not create questions ahead of time. I found it most effective to learn ahead of time about whatever situation they are coming from in general, and then look forward to their personal story. If one were to create questions, I think they should just keep in mind that some people are more open than others, and I would suggest trying to "read" the person during the video conference to decide if your question may be appropriate for that specific person in that moment. More often, the people on the other end of the video enjoy answering questions and are okay with most things, but I would still recommend assessing the situation.


  • Betsaida Arguelles Nebuay

    Betsaida Arguelles Nebuay

    May 09, 2016 at 06:01 | #

    The first step in being prepared is to be informed about the topic. It is important to to go into a discussion and have background information on the topics because if its new to you it is likely that you will be lost at some point. Also, having background information on the speaker will help you know them a little better and see how the conversation will unwrap. It is better to know about someones view when speaking because if you do disagree you can say it respectfully and avoid misunderstandings. When you have a question in class it is very important to make sure that you ask it kindly and also not try to ask too personal information, this can cause discomfort to the speaker and the rest of the class.


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