What is the Beyond Resolved Free Online Debate Workshop?
Debate opportunities are often inaccessible for those that can’t afford it. Indeed, summer debate camps and institutions that range anywhere from 2 weeks to 4 weeks and costs thousands of dollars are not accessible to everyone that wants to succeed in this activity.
Thus, Beyond Resolved worked with 74 volunteer instructors over a span of three weeks this summer (find their bios here) to attempt to mimic the opportunities of summer debate institutions as best as possible. And we launched one of the first free workshops of this size, offering a total of more than 720 hours of instructions, lectures that are now up on our youtube channel, and a lab space so that the 190 students that signed up to learn debate with us this summer could ask instructors questions at any time.
The workshop mainly focused on Public Forum, but we did accept Extemp students and speech. We intend to try and expand to other debate and speech events in the next year.
How did the Workshop work?
Instructors let the Beyond Resolved staff know which hours they were willing to offer to teach every week. Students got to sign up for one hour long office hours with an instructor of their choice, and worked on whatever skillset the student wanted to improve upon.
Instructors also offered to do debate rounds against the students during their office hours, as part of learning how to debate better is constantly debating experienced debaters and learning how to beat them.
Our main goal was to make the Workshop flexible and free. We wanted to make sure all students could fit their passion of getting better at debate in what could be an often hectic summer schedule, and we wanted to do it without any cost.
Who is/ was the Workshop open to?
Anyone. Anyone of any gender, skill level, socioeconomic status, was welcome and encouraged to participate.
Note: we gave the option of opting to choose office hours last for those that felt that they already were privileged enough to have the opportunities of camps and coaches.
How qualified were the instructors?
We like to think they were/ are very qualified. Not only were they competitively successful (the total bid count of our instructors surpassed any other summer institution), we made sure to reach out to former debaters, coaches, and current debaters that already had experience with teaching on a team or at another summer institution.
The workshop would not have been possible without the hard work and kindness of the instructors, and we are more than thankful of their commitment towards accessibility in this activity.
Will we be doing it again in 2020?
We intend on doing a similar program in 2020, with a better-planned curriculum, regular practice rounds, daily lab calls, and more specialized lectures. For more information visit our website here.