Information for SCI Students


Welcome to the Shared Course Initiative (SCI) student information page. If you are considering enrolling in an SCI class, you can use this page to get a better sense of the classroom experience. If you are currently enrolled, you will find information that will be useful to you as you get started in your new language class.

How can I prepare for my SCI class?

Find out how

Get to know the technology

Since your interaction takes place via the camera and the screen, learning how to control the cameras on both ends will greatly enhance your class experience. As an SCI student, you are an active participant in creating the space of instruction, so feel free to experiment, get feedback, and work with your teacher and classmates to find what works best for you.

During the first week, make sure to get a brief tutorial on the equipment from Chris at Columbia, Sam at Cornell, and Steve at Yale.

Academic Calendars

Talk to your instructor about the academic calendar. There will be several times throughout the semester when the calendars of the three universities will vary. Please discuss how you will address the varying calendars with your instructor early on in the semester. He or she may be able to make arrangements to take a test or quiz at a different time than the local students. Please be as flexible as you can in keeping up with the class.

Click on the calendar to view it at full width. Use the arrows to select the month.

Use your course site

Course sites such as Canvas and Blackboard are essential tools in distance classes. Speak with your instructor about their preferred use of the course site.

Please note that all Cornell and Yale students enrolled in Columbia classes will need to receive unis to access Columbia’s Courseworks. We will reach out to you at the beginning of the semester to get the necessary information.

Discuss homework submission

There are multiple ways to submit homework. Some instructors ask their students to use the built-in homework function of the course site, while others will accept handwritten work, sent via a scanned image. Speak with your instructor about their preferred method.


SCI research initiative

Throughout the semester, the SCI project team will be studying students’ and teachers’ experience, trying to understand and improve language teaching and learning at our three schools and beyond. Your optional participation in a few short surveys and conversations takes little time and is incredibly helpful; we’ll visit your class to speak more about this in the first few weeks of the semester.

Using Zoom for pair work across sites

Each classroom at Columbia is equipped with an iPad that loaded with Zoom, one of the easiest and most reliable videoconferencing apps that we can use facilitate pair work across sites. On the Columbia side, follow the instructions at the right to initiate a Zoom meeting. Students at Yale or Cornell can then join the meeting on their laptops, tablets, or smartphones by visiting and selecting “Join meeting.” The Columbia student should read the meeting ID to the Yale or Cornell student (preferably in the target language!)

Students should use headphones when possible, and both sides should mute their room microphones during pair work. Please make sure to plug the iPad into the charger if you notice that the battery is low.

Step one: Turn on the iPad and open Zoom

Step two: Select "meet now"

Step three: Select "video meeting"

Step four: Read the nine-digit meeting ID to the student at the other site

Reach out for help when you need it.

Your instructor will be your main point of contact throughout the course, and will be available weekly for virtual office hours. However, you also have other resources on hand to help you out if you’re experiencing any problems participating in your shared course.

At Columbia, you can contact Chris Kaiser ( for issues related to technology and classroom coordination.

At Cornell, you can contact Sam Lupowitz ( for issues related to technology and classroom coordination.

At Yale, you can contact Steve Melillo ( for issues related to technology and Minjin Hashbat ( for issues related to classroom coordination.