Virtual Summer Portals 2020

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Enrollment for our Summer 2020 Virtual Portals programming is now closed.
Please contact for further assistance.


Community Programming

In addition to academic course meetings, all Summer Portals students and adults will gather virtually a few times a week as a learning community. These community meetings are an opportunity to share our academic work across different courses, to learn more about one another - through a birthday celebration or round of trivia - or to connect with other students with whom you have shared interests beyond the classroom.

General Course Information

Our distance learning courses are part of an effort across the Hotchkiss curriculum to adapt our teaching and learning practices to an online environment given that our students can not be alongside us in the classroom. We will employ two main strategies to facilitate our distance learning courses:

  • Synchronous instruction occurs digitally in real time, based on a modified schedule that is accessible for students across many global time zones. Synchronous sessions will be recorded so that students can follow along on their own schedules if their time zone makes synchronous work a challenge. This mode may also be appropriate for teacher conferences or among students who might be engaged in group project planning. A key advantage of synchronous learning is that it fosters a greater sense of human connection between participants.
  • Asynchronous instruction involves students engaging in class materials online and completing work at their own pace, typically within a set timeframe and utilizing discussion boards to drive peer-to-peer engagement. A key advantage of asynchronous learning is that it will allow students in all time zones equal access to the learning process. 

Distance learning courses will run Monday through Friday for two weeks. Students will receive a narrative comment at the end of the course that speaks to their level of work and commitment to learning throughout their session. A typical day will require approximately 3 - 4 hours of engagement that consists of online learning and independent work interspersed with shorter, scheduled synchronous sessions and consultations. Synchronous sessions will generally be scheduled in the morning after 9 a.m. or in the evenings after 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST, United States). Certain courses will meet with students in smaller groups at times more compatible with their time zones as needed. 

Each course will use the Hotchkiss Canvas Learning Management System as its centralized location for all learning materials, submissions and digital interaction. Synchronous sessions and breakout groups will be facilitated using the Zoom digital meeting platform.