due to difficult language and very detailed content. In following
studies, we asked the experts to consider students’ language and
subject proficiency when formulating answers. For evaluation in class,
Method A was applied (Figures 1 and 2) using the most relevant
answers about cancer prevention, treatment, and misconceptions.
The students whose answers could not be discussed received them
as a video file. As an adjustment to the model for the future, we asked
students to hand in their questions in small groups to reduce the overall number of inquiries.
When prompted to provide comments on the project, four students asked for “more time” to film questions and for the evaluation
of expert answers. We thus moved the task of collecting potential
questions to the very start of the teaching unit. One student suggested
subtitles for the answer videos, and we followed this recommendation. Two students would have preferred live video chat, but, due to
technological concerns, we adhered to the method of recorded videos.
Regarding content, one student found the experts’ field “too specific”
and asked for “more general information on cancer.” However, we
believe this to be a realistic reflection of professions in the sciences
and therefore did not alter our expert recruitment criteria.
After amending the instructional model as described, we tested it in
the context of two other curricular topics: cell biology and immunol-
ogy. The exchange on mitochondrial disease was incorporated after
lessons on the structure and function of mitochondria. Following
the research assistant’s introductory video, we included a publicly
available video of a patient with mitochondrial disease to give the
students a concrete idea of its implications. In both classes, the eval-
uation of expert answers was conducted using Method B (Figures 1
and 2). The expert partner in the immunology context was a psycho-
social specialist concerned with children and youths that are affected
by the virus. The background of how HIV is transmitted and how
AIDS may later occur had been covered in the previous two lessons.
Two classes evaluated the expert’s answers following Method B and
four used Method A (Figures 1 and 2).
We analyzed students’ statements in the two main studies and
identified three general categories into which they could be
assigned: appreciation, language comprehension, and method and content (see Figure 4). Representative comments for each category are
given in the following text and in Table 2.
In the context of cell biology, the category of appreciation featured two students commending the exchange as “super” and “a
good idea,” and another said that she “liked interacting with the
experts” and “think[s] these kinds of things should be done more
often.” Regarding language comprehension, two students asked for
Figure 4. Proportion of cytology and immunology students’ comments and suggestions for improvement for each of the three
different categories (total mentions in parentheses).