Teaching and Learning in College Now

College Now’s goal is to support New York City’s high school students in order to build the foundations for college success. As facilitators of that goal, College Now teachers help students to shape their post-secondary expectations and strengthen their academic preparation.

College Now programs, while maintaining their distinctiveness from campus to campus, share common notions of what constitutes a College Now course (or other activity) and what principles should inform teaching and learning in College Now classrooms.  College Now promotes instructional strategies that encourage students to become independent learners.


Philosophy of Teaching

Successful college students are independent learners, and successful learning in College Now courses begins with a strong curriculum.  Clearly articulated learning goals connected to coordinated formative and summative assessments allow students to reflect on their learning and academic achievement.


Thoughtful scaffolding and sequencing of assignments supports the rigorous learning opportunities provided by College Now activities.


In College Now classes, we encourage teachers to incorporate methodologies that include:

  • hands-on activities inquiry-based and active-learning strategies
  • independent and group work that strengthens literacy, reasoning, laboratory, or computational skills


Types of CN Courses & Activities

The “road to college” is more than a metaphor. College Now programs offer college-credit and non-credit activities; high school courses; and topical workshops in arts, technology, college counseling, and effective learning strategies. The approach to teaching and learning in College Now activities depends, in large part, on the activity type.


Many College Now courses and activities take place on the college campus. If not, we encourage our instructors to incorporate arts programming, college library activities, or college campus tours to enable students to experience college activities outside the traditional classroom, even in classes designated as ‘high school courses’ or workshops. For many students, particularly those who do not have a family history of college attendance, actual campus visits are an important part of the college preparation process.


College-Credit Courses

College-credit courses follow campus departmental guidelines, which often include content and assessment requirements. Class size is typically between 20-25 students. To ensure the integrity of these courses, College Now relies on college departmental course coordinators to evaluate teaching and learning. Campus CN program leaders also coordinate with instructors and offer various professional development opportunities to determine the most effective practices to support successful learning in these courses.  The catalog of College Now courses are subject to change and may have limited enrollment and/or other restrictions.


College Non-credit Courses

Like college-credit courses, these college-catalogue courses are under the purview of college departments.  Providing students opportunities to take non-credit courses develop essential skills needed for success in a subsequent college credit-bearing course.  These courses focus specifically on foundations in literacy (reading or writing) or math.


High School Credit Courses

Working with high school principals, College Now campus programs might offer courses designed to develop discipline-specific skills and knowledge that students should be familiar with before taking college-credit courses.  For example, College Now Foundation Courses (CNFC) are developed by college and high school teachers through participation in a semester-long or summer curriculum development project.  Students are often awarded HS elective credit upon approval by their high school principal.  You can find examples of College Now pre-college courses and workshops here.  



College Now workshops are designed around a specific high-interest topic and comprise at least 21 hours of instruction. Curricula include clearly defined assessments of student learning.  These activities are not offered for high school credit.


Professional and Curriculum Development

College Now prizes creative, student-centered teaching and strong, thoughtfully developed curricula. To that end, we encourage our teachers to participate in professional and curriculum development projects.


Curriculum development projects in College Now predominately originate from two areas:

  • College Now Central Office (the entity that coordinates CN programs across all 17 CUNY undergraduate campuses) for all CNFCs, high school courses, and workshops
  • Individual campus programs – often in conjunction with a particular department for instructors of college credit and developmental catalog courses.


Support for College-Credit Courses

At this time, all professional development for college-credit courses is initiated by individual College Now programs and is campus based. To find out what professional development opportunities exist for a particular campus, contact its CN coordinator.


Support for College Now Foundation Courses (CNFC)

College Now Foundation Courses (CNFC) are academically rigorous noncredit courses that introduce high school sophomores and juniors to the skills and habits of a particular field. Imaginative and thematic by design, CNFCs engage students in discipline-specific work. Furthermore, they anticipate the demands of college by giving students the tools of disciplinary thought they need to succeed in introductory college-level courses.  For more information on CNFC Curriculum Development, please contact the College Now Central Office.



Teaching and Learning Bibliography

Below, is a short list of books and articles that we’ve found particularly helpful in the context of College Now and its student population. For book entries, we single out specific chapters.


Angelo, T. A. and K.P Cross. Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993.

  • Chapter 1, “What is Classroom Assessment?”
  • Chapter 4, “Planning and Implementing Classroom Assessment Projects.”
  • Chapter 5, “Twelve Examples of Successful Projects.”


Bean, J.C. Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001.

  • Chapter 6, “Informal, Exploratory Writing Activities.”
  • Chapter 7, “Designing Tasks for Active Thinking and Learning.”
  • Chapter 8, “Helping Students Read Difficult Texts.”


Burnham, C. Christopher. “The Perry Scheme and the Teaching of Writing”. Rhetoric Review, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Jan., 1986), pp.152-158.


Collins, J., J.S. Brown, and A. Holum. “Cognitive Apprenticeship: Making Thinking Visible.” 21st Century Learning Initiative.


McGonigal, K. Teaching for Transformation: From Learning Theory to Teaching Strategies. Speaking of Teaching. The Center for Teaching and Learning. Stanford University. Vol.14, No.2 (Spring 2005)


Kiniry, Malcolm and Elen Strenski. “Sequencing Expository Writing: A recursive Approach.” College Composition and Communication. Vol. 36, No. 2. Writing in the Academic and Professional Disciplines: Bibliography Theory Practice Preparation of Faculty. May, 1985. 191-202.


Pace, David. “The Amateur in the Operating Room: History and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.” American Historical Review. Vol. 109, No. 4. 2004. 1171-1191.


Pace, David and Joan Middendorf, editors. Decoding the Disciplines: Helping Students Learn Disciplinary Ways of Thinking. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. No. 98. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004. (Entire journal is recommended reading.)


Stout, J.C. “Radical Course Revision: A Case Study.” The National Teaching and Learning Forum. Vol. 10, No. 4, 2001.


Svinicki, M. D. “New Directions in Learning and Motivation.” New Directions for Teaching and Learning. No. 80. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999.


Walqui, Aida. “Scaffolding Instruction for English Language Learners: A Conceptual Framework.”The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Vol. 9, No. 2, 2006. 159-180.


Walvord. B. E. and Anderson, V.J. Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998.

  • Chapter 3, “Making Assignments Worth Grading.”
  • Chapter 4, “Fostering Motivation and Learning in the Grading Process.”
  • Chapter 5, “Establishing Criteria and Standards for Grading.”