By: Sarah Ervin, Program Manager of Student Services

It’s been almost four weeks since Ada classes went fully online, and even longer since many Ada interns have been fully remote. The transition to virtual class was abrupt, at a time that was already scary and full of unknowns. While we still don’t know what the future holds, we’ve been comforted in watching how our resilient community has responded to this crisis with so much mutual support and creativity. We deeply hope everyone in our networks of alums, volunteers, and partner companies are staying safe and finding community solidarity. We wanted to take a moment to share how we’ve been managing this transition, and some of the support we’ve been able to both give and receive. The way we’ve approached this transition reflects our order of highest priorities: student health first and foremost, followed by their learning, and then their internship-reading. 

One of the biggest challenges of the shift to online learning was adapting our curriculum to work well outside of the classroom. Our classroom experience is now less lecture-heavy and includes more time for review, small group communication, and 1:1 check-ins between students and instructors every single week. Starting this week, instructors are also holding “Roundtables” with groups of students, which creates the opportunity for real-time discussion of questions and concepts that used to happen more organically in-person. 

 Notably, we also changed the order of the curriculum so that our students are currently learning JavaScript rather than Ruby on Rails.  Ada’s JavaScript curriculum is more focused on programming fundamentals, and the material in JavaScript was already positioned to work much better in an online format. JavaScript’s rich online communities will also be a great source of support for our students in learning this material remotely. Our volunteer community has also stepped up immensely to support our students in this transition. The student slack network is bustling with offers of tutoring, mentorship, code review, and debugging at all hours of the day. 

In addition to academics, we’ve also been looking for creative ways to support personal wellness, mental health care, and community connectivity. Here’s a sampling of what’s been happening at Ada in student services over the last few weeks:

  • Thanks to our partners at BetterHelp, we were able to secure a month of free virtual counseling for everyone in our community. If you’re interested in accessing this service, you can register here
  • In partnership with a local startup called Weekdays, we have been providing free childcare to any student-parents who need support with caring for children while being in school.
  • We held a panel for both cohorts of students on remote work/study skills featuring alum Nicole Url, mentor and former Ada instructor Jeremy Flores, and mentor Don O’Neill. 
  • Our friends at Highspot have conducted 1:1 mentor sessions with any interested students, after which we got feedback like: “If it’s companies like Highspot I get to work with – then I’m in the right place!”
  • We’ve also been thrilled to hear about the ways that students have been connecting with each other to keep our vibrant community in touch, including virtual movie nights, lunches, and study groups. 

We’ll keep you posted on how we’re doing at Ada throughout this experience. If you want to get involved with any support of our student community through mentorship, tutoring, wellness resources, or remote interview practice, please email