Due to the current public health situation, the Gonzaga Debate Institute will be transitioning to a 100% online institute for Summer of 2020. We are fortunate to have an extremely talented faculty with a strong background in online instruction who is working tirelessly to create a high-quality curriculum that takes advantage of the opportunities available with a virtual debate experience. The GDI Online is committed to providing our students with the highest quality educational experience in a safe and secure online environment. We have full intention to return to our traditional on-campus experience next year.
The GDI Online Summer 2020 Experience
While some aspects of the brick and mortar GDI can’t be recreated we are confident in the platforms we plan to utilize as well as our faculty expertise using digital tools in unique and adaptive ways. Some highlights you can expect from the GDI Online.
Familiarity and Simplicity. The move to an 100% online institute will be a challenge for students as well as faculty and staff. We believe advance familiarity with tools that are simple yet effective to use will provide a more comfortable experience that minimizes potential problems during the transition.
Google classroom will serve as our primary online classroom space with secure video conference meeting spaces utilized for practice debates, speeches, and other synchronous video events. While many students are already familiar with those platforms we will provide advance instruction and tutorial as needed.
Online Safety and Security. We are certainly aware of the security and safety concerns related to an online institute experience and are working diligently and in close consultation with experienced high school coaches, administrators, and IT security experts to create a safe learning environment for our students. Some of these protocols will include password protecting our spaces so only authorized students/parents have access; recording our classroom sessions as well as all synchronous events; and building redundancies into our system to enhance security.
Pre institute Learning Opportunities. The GDI Online will begin to offer materials for our enrolled students long before their program begins. These will be optional and will include tutorials on using our platforms and how we will integrate them into our experience, as well as content driven curriculum including both synchronous and asynchronous lectures on a variety of topics.
A Structured Yet Flexible and Diverse Curriculum. We intend to offer a structured daily curriculum that will include lecture, small group meetings and activities, assignments, and skill work. At the same time the online experience will allow us flexibility in how we adapt to the unique demands on students in a virtual classroom.
Guest Speakers and Judges. The online environment will allow us to much more easily tap into the expertise of scholars and policymakers in the field of criminal justice reform, as well as give our students the opportunity to be critiqued by a much broader range of judges including former debate greats as well as those who have gone on to work in this particular field.
The Tournament. One of the highlights of the GDI has always been the end of institute tournament. We fully intend to keep that tradition and provide students with that capstone experience.
Daily Schedule. There are a lot of challenges when designing an online debate experience that can accommodate students across the country, while avoiding cognitive overload for students/faculty. To that end there will be a lot of schedule flexibility so we can accommodate students across various time zones, as well as various technological restrictions students might experience. We intend to utilize a variety of both synchronous and asynchronous content to provide students with maximum flexibility in how they choose to attend so its tough to construct a daily schedule since it will vary depending on the student and generally the GDI Online will be “open” from 8am - 8pm across domestic time zones. We are also aware of how this will impact students in non domestic time zones. We are building our schedule and curriculum to accommodate our international students and ensure the have access to real time instruction and opportunities.
Enrollment for The GDI Online Summer 2020 is Open!
- 5 Week Scholars (Policy Debate)—Sunday, June 21 – Saturday, July 25
- 5 Week Sophomores (Policy Debate)—Sunday, June 21 – Saturday, July 25
- 4 Week Varsity and JV (Policy Debate)—Sunday, June 28 – Saturday, July 25
- 2 Week Policy Debate (All experience Levels)—Sunday, July 12 – Saturday, July 25
- 1 Week Public Forum (All experience Levels)—Sunday, July 5 – Saturday, July 11
- 1 Week Lincoln Douglas (All experience Levels)—Sunday, July 5 – Saturday, July 11
For those of you new to the GDI here is a little information about who we are and what we do. The GDI has been hosted on the campus of Gonzaga University (WA) for over 50 years, making us one of oldest summer debate institutes in the nation. Over that time the GDI has developed a proven curriculum which has assisted thousands of students in developing their debate skills and preparing them for competition at all levels of experience. Whether a student’s goal is to win the TOC, NSDA, NDCA, their state championships, or just to develop some basic advocacy skills that will help them in any walk of life the GDI has a program and faculty that is right for you. In addition, we offer one of the most cost competitive pricing structures of any institute of our size and reputation including numerous scholarship and discount opportunities to help families cover the costs of attendance. Debaters seeking a challenging, rewarding, and competitive summer should consider joining us for what promises to be another outstanding GDI experience.
This is what former TOC Champion and first round debater John Spurlock (Cal Berkeley) said about his multiple experiences at the GDI.
“I had an amazing time in beautiful Spokane my three summers at the Gonzaga Debate Institute. More importantly the Gonzaga Debate Institute formed me as a debater in every essential way. I learned intricate elements of debate theory and discussed and thought about debate one-on-one with incredibly experienced staff in a way that I never had before. I not only researched a hard to produce set of files that I would use the entire season, but I also learned the skills to quickly and efficiently research innovative arguments of all kinds in the future. I worked with lab leaders to perfect my speaking style, striving to both make the best argument and say those arguments in the best way possible. Most importantly, however, I developed a particular way of thinking about debate, a set of strategic and tactical skills that has shaped every single speech that I have given since. None of my success in high school debate would have been possible without the Gonzaga Debate Institute and I give it my highest recommendation.”
John Spurlock - 2014 TOC Champion