Supplemental Instruction (SI) provides weekly, peer-led study sessions to help students prepare for their courses outside of the classroom. SI study sessions are facilitated by an SI leader, a student who has previously completed the course with a high grade. SI leaders plan and prepare for study sessions in advance and use active learning strategies to encourage, comprehension and synthesis of course content. SI emphasizes collaborative, student-to-student learning and processing of information.
What are the key elements of SI?
The SI program targets traditionally difficult academic courses—those that have a high rate of D or F grades and withdrawals—and provides regularly scheduled, out-of-class, peer-facilitated sessions.
- SI does not identify high-risk students but rather identifies historically difficult classes.
- SI study sessions typically begin the second week of the semester.
- SI sessions are offered across various course modalities, in person and/or online.
- SI sessions are open to all students in the course section and are usually attended on a voluntary basis, free of charge.
- SI Leaders are key people in the program. They are students who have demonstrated competence in the course and have great facilitation skills.
- SI sessions are comprised of students of varying abilities, and no effort is made to separate students based on academic ability.
- SI is introduced on the first day of classes and is open to all students in the course. SI is not viewed as remedial.
- SI Leaders receive ongoing training which covers such topics as how students learn, strategies aimed at strengthening student academic performance, and study session management tips.
- SI Leaders attend all class sessions, take notes, read/review assigned material, and conduct two or more 50-minute SI study sessions each week.
- SI sessions integrate how-to-learn with what-to-learn.
- Students who attend SI sessions discover appropriate application of learning strategies/study skills, (e.g. note taking, graphic organization, questioning techniques, vocabulary acquisition, problem solving, and test preparation) as they review difficult course content.
- Students have the opportunity to become actively involved in the course material as the SI Leaders use the text, lecture notes, and supplementary readings as vehicles for refining learning skills.
- National and institutional data demonstrate that SI participants earn higher course grades and withdraw less often than non-SI participant.
The SI Program is housed under the Office of the Provost and is responsible for identifying the targeted courses, gaining faculty support, selecting and training SI Leaders, monitoring the quality of SI sessions, and evaluating the program.
How are courses selected for SI support?
SI is designed to improve student learning and success in historically difficult courses, those with DFW rates of 25 percent or higher. The SI Program targets courses, not individual faculty. Priority is given to General Education and gateway courses, though SI has been successful in several upper-level courses, too.
What is expected of the SI leader?
SI leaders are expected to attend their assigned class regularly and to model effective student behaviors and attitudes. They are asked to promote their study sessions every single week to all students in the class. SI leaders meet with their assigned instructor biweekly (at a minimum) in order to seek advice and/or resources for their study sessions.
Since SI leaders are paid to help students organize and use their study time effectively and efficiently, they are expected to submit written plans to the SI Program prior to leading their weekly study sessions.