Online Workshop Information 2021

Harvard Debate Council’s Summer Workshops

The Harvard Debate Council has been a pioneer in online debate education. We offered one of the first online evidence databases in the 1980s, HarvEx, and ran the premier online debate platform during the 1990s and 2000s, PlanetDebate. We have taught several foreign online debate classes. We are excited to build on last year’s online summer workshop to bring our students a first-class educational experience.  We understand that everyone might be a little tired of online learning, but we have worked hard to build a dynamic, synchronous learning environment that will be stimulating, educational, and fun.

Things to Know

Key Information


Instruction will be delivered using the same platforms that Harvard uses for its online courses. We will use a combination of Canvas, Harvard’s learning management software, and Zoom, a videoconferencing platform that is fully integrated with Canvas. Students will have access to the course webpage once they receive their Harvard University ID numbers and set up their Harvard Keys.


Scheduling will be adapted so that students can participate from all continental US time zones. The instructional day will last from 10AM until approximately 6PM EST. Each program will offer a mix of synchronous and asynchronous programming, including recorded lectures, live discussions, and mechanisms for students to submit recorded speeches and receive feedback as well as participate in live competitions. Students should expect to be engaged with the workshop from the morning through the early evening each day with breaks scattered throughout and for lunch.


The tuition price for each online workshop will be $1,200.00, which includes the $100.00 application fee and the $500.00 deposit.



Medical forms and ID photos will no longer be required for the online program.



For any questions, please reach out to us at or at 617-495-4822.

Three Steps

Steps to Prepare for the Online Workshop


Ensure you have access to the online learning platforms by the Saturday before your workshop begins

  • Instruction will be delivered using the same platforms that Harvard uses for its online courses. We will use a combination of Canvas, Harvard’s learning management software, and Zoom, a videoconferencing platform that is fully integrated with Canvas. Canvas and Zoom are both web-based applications and do not require any software to be downloaded and do not require any accounts to be created other than your HarvardKey. In order to access these pages, students will need to claim their HarvardKey. Students will receive their Harvard University ID numbers and detailed instructions for claiming their Harvard Keys in mid June, 2021.
  • Tech Troubleshooting. We have a “tech check-in” day for each session on the weekend before the workshop begins from 10am-12pm and from 3pm-7pm EST. Tech check-in will be Saturday, July 3, 2021 for the first session and on Sunday, July 18, 2021 for the second session. On each of these days, workshop staff will be available via chat, email, and phone to help students solve any technological problems, including accessing Canvas and Zoom.

Be prepared before the opening session on the appropriate day

  • The opening meeting for session one will occur on Monday, July 5, 2021 at 2:00pm EST. The opening meeting for session two will occur on Monday, July 19, 2021 at 2:00pm EST. Students will be able to find the link and other details on Canvas homepage starting on Saturday morning before each session.

Look out for program specific schedules from your curriculum coordinator

  • CCs will distribute specific schedules no later than the week before your session begins, and they will also be posted to the Canvas site. 

Three Steps

Technological Requirements

In order to participate as seamlessly as possible in online courses, students will need the following:

1. A desktop or laptop computer with a webcam

Tablets and phones can be used as supplements, but students will need a fully functioning computer. We also recommend that students have a dedicated space for using a webcam where outside interruption can be minimized.

2. Stable internet access

A hard-wired ethernet connection is ideal, but strong wifi can be used as well. One workaround is to use a wifi range extender with an ethernet port, which should provide increased connectivity.

3. A pair of headphones with a microphone

Any basic option will work, but the microphone quality is the most important element. Many debaters prefer to use gamer headsets.

4. Access to Microsoft Word

The policy program will require the use of Microsoft Word.

5. Recommended but not required: a second monitor or screen and an external mouse.


Register for 2021

Applications are due by May 31, 2021.