Online Experience

Columbia University's Program for High School Students is dedicated to bringing an Ivy League education into the homes of bright, high-achieving students.

Through Columbia's online interactive learning platform, students across the globe can engage with one another through rigorous curricular instruction, inclusive student life activities, and informative college success events.

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The Virtual Classroom

Students will attend class during the designated meeting times found on the individual course description pages. All courses are offered synchronously with live classroom instruction taught by scholars and practitioners who are experts in their fields. Courses are designed to be experiential and collaborative, while taking advantage of Columbia's online learning technology.

In addition to the Instructor, each online classroom will have a designated Course Facilitator to assist with course technology. In this way, instructors can focus solely on the class lesson and on providing attention to individual students.

Instructors utilize CourseWorks to interact with students outside of course meeting times. The platform is used for homework, feedback, and discussions. All courses are taught using Zoom, an online video-conferencing platform.

Technology Requirements

To successfully participate in your course and co-curricular activities, you will need:


A computer that is capable of running the latest versions of browsers, plug-ins, and recent software, including tools that will keep the system free of viruses and spyware.

Internet Connection

A high-speed, hard-wired Internet connection (Ethernet) that will support streaming/interactive audio and video. Weak Wi-Fi may cause issues such as latency, choppy audio, and loss of connection.


A webcam will be required for your daily participation in class. If your computer does not have a built in camera, you can purchase a USB-based webcam to affix to the top of your computer.

Headset with Microphone

While many laptops come with built-in mics and speakers, we highly recommend that you use a USB-based headset with a microphone, such as the Logitech H390 USB Computer Headset. If you are using a laptop with a built-in microphone, please use headphones or earbuds during class sessions to avoid echo or feedback. Listening through speakers may cause echo that disrupts the entire class.

Zoom Installation

Please be sure you have administrative permission to install Zoom and other technologies on your computer.

Designated Learning Space

Students should choose a well-lit, distraction-free learning space appropriate for interacting with faculty and fellow students on camera.

Student Engagement

Students are expected to participate actively in class and to collaborate with their peers and with program instructors. Discussions, group work, and in-class presentations given by students are regular components of our courses. The virtual classroom functions as a dynamic community of learners and thinkers.

All students are required to utilize webcams, headsets, and microphones so they can engage in active discussion and contribute to the online classroom community.

Learning At Home

Students should do their best to find a suitable location from which to engage the online course. Ideal “home classrooms” are free of noise, music, and other people or pets passing through the display. Any decorations, graphic art, or posters should be suitable for a classroom environment.

Respect in the Online Community

Students are expected to engage seriously in their courses through focused class participation and completion of assigned work. Disruptive behavior or the use of course platforms for inappropriate content or discourse will not be tolerated.

Students are responsible for their conduct, including their behavior in digital forums such as text messages, social media posts, emails, and discussion boards. Examples of "cyber-bullying" are considered serious breaches of Columbia University Community Standards.

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