Accelerated Learning Program


Accelerated Learning Program (ALP)

Special Updates for Spring 2020

Online Teaching Strategies for ALP Classes

Since ALP students would normally have an additional two hours of instruction per week, they will need some version of this additional support even though we are now teaching remotely. 

Except for a few semesters when hybrid sections were offered, ALP has been considered a class that works best with face-to-face meetings. The conferencing, individual attention, and collegiality that arises among members of the ALP group seems difficult to recreate in a class that never meets in person. Nevertheless, we now must provide remote instruction for students who may have little experience with online learning.

In the face of these challenges, ALP instructors have been trying out the following strategies:

  • Maintaining individual email conversations
  • Creating small group work using Blackboard features like Blogs or the Discussion Board
  • Evaluating and conferencing about additional essay drafts
  • Holding weekly, individual check-ins via Skype, Blackboard Collaborate, or Webex (login with your username and password)
  • Meeting with the class (or half the class) via Blackboard Collaborate
  • Combining asynchronous and synchronous learning: Meet with half the class via Blackboard Collaborate and discuss a key topic like thesis statements or organization for 15 to 45 minutes. The group would then move to a related Blackboard Discussion Board forum for the next half hour, allowing students to share written ideas in real-time. The Discussion Board would be available for the rest of the week once this synchronous session is complete. (shared by Greg Bruno)
  • Offering a time to meet via Google Hangouts and Google Docs. Instructors could enter the students’ documents to answer questions or provide feedback as they write. (shared by Matthew Gartner)
  • Using the Journal feature of Blackboard. You can set Journals to private so that they are only seen by the instructor and the student or make them visible to the entire class. You can reply to students and they can reply back. Students can also create new entries whenever they like. Journals can work well to recreate the kinds of private discussions that occurred in smaller groups and during office hours. (shared by Christine Brosnan)
  • While meeting with students on BB Collaborate, use a shared Google Doc as a whiteboard, practicing techniques, collaborating, and using the doc as a place to take notes. (shared by Michelle Gabay)

Remember that it isn’t necessary to hold discrete, synchronous, two-hour sessions. In fact, the online format offers more flexibility since check-ins can occur multiple times during the week.

Don’t worry if what you’re doing seems imperfect or incomplete. None of these methods will exactly replicate what would happen in the classroom, especially since we are operating under stressful conditions. During this long adjustment period, try to value consistency and clarity. The transition will be easier for students if they know what to expect each week and how to contact us with questions.

Please also take note of the “Updates to Portfolio Assessment” section on the CPA page.  The goal is to provide meaningful instruction that maintains course outcomes while being sensitive to this unusual and difficult situation.

Mission Statement:

The Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) in the Composition Program at KCC is designed to facilitate the transition into college composition for students whose educational records indicate that they may need additional support to succeed in Composition I. ALP is predicated on the belief that students can thrive academically and rise to significant literacy challenges when given adequate individual attention and instruction from faculty. By fostering a supportive small community within the larger English 12 class, ALP provides a safe space for students to learn together, grow together, and support each other under the guidance of their instructors. The goal of ALP is to help students achieve the learning outcomes of English 12, including submission of a passing writing portfolio, thereby reinforcing their role as critical readers, writers, and thinkers in the college community.

Background of ALP in English 12:

In Spring 2013, Kingsborough began to pilot a variation of the Accelerated Learning Program instituted at the Community College of Baltimore County. Five “ALP” sections of English 12 included some English 93-level students who received additional instruction with their Composition instructor. Over time, the ALP program became open to more students. 

Now any student with a Proficiency Index between 50 and 64 will place into English 12A0: Composition I – ALP.  All ALP sections of English 12 participate in collaborative portfolio assessment.

About English 12A0: Composition I – ALP:

  • English 1200: Composition I and English 12A0: Composition I – ALP are equivalent courses; students who pass English 12A0 will receive credit for Composition I.
  • There is no separate, additional, or different assessment for ALP students. Instead, the entire class will participate in collaborative portfolio assessment. 
  • The purpose of the two-hour ALP session is to support ALP students’ progress and to prepare them to pass the final portfolio.
  • ALP sessions will include individualized activities to meet the students’ needs and might include conferences, additional peer review, or deeper/slower work with a challenging text.

ALP Next Course Placement Summary

Eng 12 Grade Next Course
Pass English 2400
Fail English 1200
W / WD / WN / WU      English 12A0

English 12A0: Composition I – ALP: Frequently Asked Questions 

1- How do students place into English 12A0: Composition I – ALP?

Students with a Proficiency Index of 50-64 are placed into English 12A0.

2- Should instructors announce to the whole group that some students will have additional hours of instruction?

It’s your preference whether or not to explain that some students will have an extra two hours of class each week. Some faculty announce it on the first day, while others wait until it comes up during class.  

3-  Are the ALP students the only ones in the class who participate in portfolio assessment? 

NO.  All students, ALP and non-ALP, are evaluated by portfolio assessment. ALP students are Composition I students and should not be evaluated differently from the rest of the class. 

4-  Do students in the ALP program understand why they are receiving extra class time? 

Now that students can register without the guidance of an advisor, they may not know why they placed into ALP.

ALP replaces the previous developmental model where students would take stand-alone non-credit courses until they passed the CATW. ALP gives students who just missed the entrance requirements for Composition I the extra support they need to pass the portfolio while allowing them to receive credit.   

5-  Do ALP students take the CATW at the end of the semester?

No. As of Fall 2017, ALP students stopped retaking the CATW. All students are now assessed by Collaborative Portfolio Assessment.  

6- Must I maintain two Blackboard environments for my English 1200 and English 12A0 classes?

No. Post your course materials in the English 1200 course shell as the entire class will have access to it.

7-  Does ALP have a different curriculum that must be followed?  

No. Your ALP section should follow the same suggested course structure as all other sections of Composition I. The additional two hours of instruction will give you time to preview and review the English 12 assignments and coursework.

8- How can you ensure students attend the two supplemental hours of instruction?

In the past, students had to sign a contract that stated their grade in English 12 was contingent upon their ALP attendance. That contract is no longer viable for two reasons:

  • It was used when the ALP class did not appear on the students’ schedule or even in CUNYfirst. The contract was the only record that the student was taking ALP.
  • Students now register for ALP on their own, not with an advisor, so there is no way to enforce a contract.  

With this information in mind, faculty suggest the following strategies to deal with attendance issues in the ALP class:

  • Make sure the supplemental hours provide productive instruction to help students pass the English 12 portfolio. Instructors report better attendance when the class directly relates to the goal of passing the portfolio.
  • Be sure your syllabus explicitly explains that participation and attendance in ALP are directly linked to passing the class. In addition, be clear that only students who have completed a specified amount of work will even be eligible to submit a portfolio.
  • Take attendance during the ALP sessions so students know that you value their presence in the class.   

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