You can still switch from audience member to participant
I think Agnes Callard sums up why folks should attempt to be a part of the group:
"a university is a place where people help each other access the highest intellectual goods. A university is a place of heterodidacticism.
An autodidact is someone who learns best on their own, by teaching themselves things. “Heterodidact” is a word I made up to describe the rest of us, for whom learning and knowing is a social activity."
Being a part of the panel discussion creates an opportunity to learn via a social activity. Highly encourage anyone who enjoys learning, and who has the time available, to take the risk of getting off the bench and into the game.
I would have signed up but I just don't have any free time this year. We are home-schooling my son, and he is also playing on two travel teams - baseball and basketball - which is crucial for his peer-to-peer social interaction. He has practices and/or games 4 nights a week and both days on the weekends
Wish I could Arnold, but I have a church group that meets at the same time. I hope you will do more of these, at a different time :)