AI4ALL’s Transition to Online Learning this Summer

Published in
4 min readApr 29, 2020


Guest post by Jonathan Garcia, AI4ALL University Programs Manager

Many 2020 AI4ALL Summer Programs are moving online

At AI4ALL, the health and well-being of our students, program teams, faculty, and partners are our top priority. We understand the concerns surrounding COVID-19 and are committed to being responsive as this situation continues to evolve.

In this spirit, we have been working diligently with our university partners to pivot swiftly and effectively to host AI4ALL camps virtually this summer. We are collaborating with our program leadership to create high-quality alternatives that adequately meet the needs of their community and environment. More information about each AI4ALL program can be found on their respective websites, linked at the bottom of this post.

We are committed to continuing our mission of molding the next young leaders in AI, regardless of the circumstance. Within this commitment, there are many concerns. We have concerns about equity and access. We have concerns about community building. We have concerns about the quality of educational experience for everyone involved. We understand the program experience — and the world — will look very different this summer. Here are a few ways we are reconciling with these changes:

At the top of our minds are our students. We are working vigorously to assess their needs this summer and to provide as many resources to them as possible. We also understand that resources are scarce and not a complete answer.

As we have learned ourselves, working from home presents a host of unforeseen challenges. Some of these challenges may be so great that they will prevent students from participating in any educational experience this summer. We know that the vast majority of these students will be Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. This troubles us, deeply. With this reality, we are asking ourselves:

  • How do we responsibly design programming that centers inclusion?
  • What are we learning this year to increase equity now and in our future?

Another challenge presented in online education is the lack of in-person interaction and the lack of on-campus experience. Watching students enter their first few days of an AI4ALL Summer Program as strangers and ending the program as friends, and future AI Changemakers, is one of the biggest reasons we do this work.

For our students, at the fulcrum of these interactions is belief; building belief in themselves, their peers, and their intellectual capacities. We are working to figure out how to retain that. Our university partners are coming up with exciting ideas to build community virtually. When thinking through these innovations, we are keeping the following questions central to our thinking:

  • How are we creating an abundance of opportunities for students to engage with each other?
  • How are we validating our students’ resilience in this time and as they move forward with their educational career?

Lastly, we pride ourselves at AI4ALL on having a forward-thinking, comprehensive instructional design. Currently, educators worldwide are having difficulties modifying their curricula to online platforms, while students are struggling to stay engaged. We face the same challenges.

Our faculty across the nation are some of the brightest and most dedicated minds we can imagine. While this shift is not one that will come without mistakes, we are thinking through several strategies: asynchronous learning, pre-recorded lectures, collaborative instruction. As each university makes the best decision for their students, we are keeping in mind:

  • What are the essential educational components of an AI4ALL Summer Program?
  • How are we providing support to our instructors so they are set up for success?

At AI4ALL, we are dedicated to building skills, opening doors, and creating leaders. We have never needed to stick to these core principles more sharply than now. We know this summer will present difficulty, but we also are leaning into the learnings it is providing as well. Our goal is to look back on this year and be proud of the efforts we put forth for our students.

For more information about each AI4ALL Summer Program’s 2020 program details, please visit the relevant program’s website:




AI4ALL is a US nonprofit working to increase diversity and inclusion in artificial intelligence.