Q&A for Upcoming Sessions – 2020

Is the Summer Session going to happen and when?

The session scheduled for July 24-August 17 will take place on the scheduled dates online.  The session will proceed as planned, but we will not be meeting together in Bergamo and Saas Fee.  Slight modifications have been made to the schedule of seminars and the program, but essentially the session will go forward as planned.

What will be its structure?

Professors will deliver their seminars using Zoom video conferencing software.  We will provide the usual support for these seminars through Google Classroom (reading materials and other information), and we will be recording the seminars, for the benefit of the students, using Vimeo (these recordings will be secure and will remain available for one month to the registered students).

Seminars sessions will last for one and a half hours, instead of the usual three.  (We hope, in this way, to reduce fatigue for all involved.) There will be two additional hours devoted to a question and answer exchange.

Also, as is normal in EGS meetings, we will hold scheduled workshops.  These workshops are required for registered students and will be available to visitors.

We will be sending out to all students a protocol for these online seminars and workshops that should facilitate participation.  Each session will be moderated by an EGS staff member (this should be either Nemanja Mitrovic or Pirooz Kalayeh). These moderators will oversee technical issues and also help structure exchange.  We will call upon students to be especially active in the question and answer process (which should entail enhanced preparation and a submission of written questions on the part of matriculated students who take the seminars for credit) in order to compensate for the lost time in seminar meeting time.

What will be its schedule?

The seminars and workshops will take place on the dates already announced.  See the schedule on our website for precise details.

The only change will relate to the hours for these seminars.  In order to address the challenges represented by time zones, we plan to hold the seminars from 3-4:30 pm, and then 7-8:30 pm, Central European Time (this is 9:00-10:30 am and 1:00-2:30 pm Eastern Standard Time).  We will hold the question and answer session on the day between seminars at a time to be announced. For certain seminars, we may make special arrangements which will be clearly announced well in advance.  We may also employ the Vimeo recordings for some groups of students.

What about the October Session in Malta?

We will wait until July 1 to determine whether the October session will go forward in the normal manner with a meeting in Valletta.  If we should be obliged to cancel by reason of the pandemic, we will go online, as we are doing in the summer session.  Preparations are being made for this possibility.

Will students get credits for online seminars?

Yes, matriculated students will gain credit for these courses in their degree programs.  Students should also be able to present their work in our online seminars for credit in other educational institutions (though this is not something the EGS can guarantee).

We hope to have a broader number of students who are taking only individual courses or undertaking certificate study.  But those students who are pursuing EGS degree programs will receive the normal credit for their course work.

What will be the price for online seminars?

We are reducing the standard cost of seminars by over 30%. The cost of online seminars will be $1,150.  We are quite certain of the quality of the offerings by reason of the strength of the faculty. But we recognize that an incentive is appropriate in this new structure and in current economic conditions.

Students who join us this year will miss the live gatherings, of course, but they will realize quite significant savings in their study costs since they do not have the added expense of travel and lodging.  We will all miss the Alps and possibly the Mediterranean, but the meetings should be quite rich.

For selected seminars, we will set up a two-tier pricing structure designed to help students who are normally unable to join us by reason of regional or national economic conditions.   The pandemic is a global phenomenon, of course, and most of our students are suffering financial pressure.  But students from many countries in the global south or even Eastern Europe have never been able to join us.  This has been a painful reality that we hope we can address now with the new opportunities provided by our online program.  Students who join us in this manner will not be matriculated.

What will happen before the start of the Summer Session?

The PACT group will be working to enhance the online experience through experimentation.  This preparation began already in our collaboration with the Strelka Institute for their excellent colloquium on Terraforming one week ago.  On May 11-13, Professor Fynsk will offer a free seminar on “Antigone” that will be meant as a kind of trial run.  This seminar will not be for credit, and we will ask participants only for their feedback so that we can determine the best use of our online platform.  We will also hold other events in order to pursue this experimentation before the beginning of our summer session.  These will be announced on Instagram and the news section of our website.

Will there be other EGS events in the course of the year?

We are attempting to turn the necessity of going online into an opportunity. Our effort to invite students who have never been able to join us before belongs to this effort. But we also recognize that the online structure allows us to create new events and forms of outreach that we have not pursued in the past. Exigency is prompting us to be imaginative, and we will be exploring the possibility of new offerings.

One wants to ask sometimes, “Why didn’t we think of this before?”

There are answers to this question in this case, in fact, but the pressures of the moment are leading us to find new solutions.