The Duke TIP eStudies program offers an exceptional academic and social experience for students who are seeking challenging coursework over the summer. eStudies participants connect with a vibrant online community of students and a TIP instructor while exchanging ideas with academically gifted youngsters around the world. eStudies is unlike most distance learning programs because it’s designed to provide academic challenge to gifted students, and because it offers small class sizes. This means eStudies requires commitment. It is not a self-paced class; there are weekly deadlines for readings and assignments, and students should be prepared to log in most days, as they will receive daily course updates.
The online classroom
eStudies courses are primarily delivered through Canvas, which is TIP’s online course management system and learning environment. Once they are enrolled in eStudies, students are provided with TIPonline credentials that they use to log in to their online course site, course email, and other web tools. For security reasons, all discussion forums, chat areas, live meetings, and tests or quizzes are only accessible to registered students, the course’s instructional staff, and TIP administrators.
We provide all students with access prior to the program’s start. If you have any concerns about your computer’s compatibility with this web-based system, please check the technology requirements. Within the dedicated Canvas course site, students will participate in discussions, check their assignments, and access materials. We also provide access to Collaborate, a web conferencing system we use for live sessions.
Most of the interaction that takes place in an eStudies course is asynchronous, meaning that students (and the instructor) are participating at different times. In this way, eStudies is very flexible, but it is not self-paced. As long as they meet due dates and deadlines, students can post to the discussion board or take a test at any time that is convenient, whether 7 a.m., 10:30 p.m., or any other time. This flexibility is one of the greatest benefits of a distance-learning course.
However, while most interactions are asynchronous in terms of the time of day that students sign on and complete course work, each course has weekly deadlines associated with reading assignments and written coursework, such as papers, discussion posts, tests, and quizzes. Students will be provided with deadlines in advance so that they can plan their work accordingly.
During the first week of the program, instructors will present a selection of possible weekly meeting times, review student availability and conflicts, then determine the best possible time for the class to meet. This is done so that students have an opportunity to participate in the scheduling process. Every effort will be made to accommodate the schedules of students in the course where possible and when possible. If students or families have concerns about the schedule for the live meetings, they are strongly encouraged to contact the course instructor with their summer schedule when the program begins.
Each course instructor hosts two hours of live, synchronous interaction each week within which students can engage, collaborate with peers, and discuss topics in real-time. (For example, a class might meet Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EDT and Sundays at 3 p.m. EDT.) In these instances, groups of students and the instructor are online simultaneously. We recommend students attend sessions as they are able, but recordings of those sessions will be available and there are other opportunities to engage with the material outside of the sessions. Students can be successful without attending every live session, provided they view recordings and engage in other post-session activities. Although such interaction limits flexibility, most students find this opportunity to connect with their classmates in real time to be one of the most rewarding aspects of an eStudies course.
In addition, student-to-student and student-to-teacher interactions occur daily. Students post daily to the discussion forums and engage in challenging conversations with other students and their instructor. In some classes, group or peer projects and assignments allow students to collaborate as well. Each instructor provides detailed email communication and personalized assignment feedback to their students. Students also have the opportunity to chat with, speak to, hear, and see other students and their instructor at the weekly live meetings.
This seven-week program for seventh through eleventh graders takes place during the summer. Students join an online class of twenty-four and are led in high school– or college-level coursework by an expert instructor who oversees discussions, live video meetings, and peer-to-peer interaction.