Two Decades Academy's Online Summer Sessions take an experiential approach to learning, with a careful balance between high-tempo activities, deep insight opportunities, and ample practice for public speaking, deliberation, and negotiation. Our online curriculum has been developed and tested over the last year, and incorporates the best practices of exceptional virtual learning environments.
Following the best practices of online learning, we divide our day between Live Classes and Asynchronous Learning. Full-day live online classes overwhelm students and decrease learning outcomes. During Asynchronous learning time our instructors are 100% online for 1:1 and small team coaching.
Our curriculum is designed to balance class participation, social engagement, cooperative activities, direct instruction, self-guided learning, and debating.
We take breaks every 40-50 minutes, to reduce fatigue and the effects of prolonged screen time.
Morning Live Class - 10 am to 12 noon
In the morning, we create etiquette for social bonds within an academic setting. This is a key practice for any parliamentary-style debate activity (such as MUN or Model Congress), and one necessary to hold academic debates over contentious issues. It also helps students become great diplomats and advocates.
Next, we warm up our minds and introduce moral dilemmas with participative thought experiments or discussions on current events.
We then proceed to brief our students in the area of study for the day. This includes direct instruction, time for questions, discussions, and individual assignments for the “roles” they will play in the debate simulation to take place later on. Like most debating activities, students are assigned roles they might not agree with, which enhances critical thinking skills and empathy.
EARLY afTERNOON async time - 12 noon 2 pm
During asynchronous learning time, students follow an online briefing, which complements class instruction. Our online briefings are carefully curated and designed to exercise students in the efficient yet thorough research skills necessary for the practice of debate. Additionally, they provide important content necessary to understand the complex issue under discussion, and to effectively prepare for the upcoming debate.
During async time, students will be intermittently prompted to collaborate with other students. These interactions are designed to further enhance social bonds and social intelligence in a discourse setting. This mimics numerous situations students face during MUN or Model Congress, in which speedy, skillful collaboration or negotiations are critical.
Our instructors are live throughout async time and connect with students 1:1 and in small groups for coaching.
LATE Afternoon live debates - 2 pm to 4 pm
In our afternoon live classes, we are dedicated to debating or negotiating activities that allow students to practice the skills, knowledge, and social bonds that have been in development throughout the day. Here, students take the lead, while instructors act as arbiters and advisors.
We finish our session by reflecting on knowledge gained and skills developed. Students evaluate their own performance and are provided individual feedback from our instructors. Each new day has students apply learnings from the previous day to develop their skills, to examine new contexts, and to understand complex problems.