Teaching ALP Online
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.
Since ALP students would normally have an additional two hours of instruction per week, they will need some version of this support even though we are now teaching remotely.
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 Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom (login with your @login.cuny.edu 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)
- Send hard copy coursepacks to students. (Shared by Gene McQuillan)
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.
Faculty Development Notes:
- Teaching 12A0 ALP Online_ Experiences & Strategies
- Collaborative Reading Strategies
- ALP Retention & Participation