Frequently Asked Questions
What classes will be supported by Supplemental Instruction next semester?
It is difficult to determine which course sections will have SI leaders. Not all SI leaders know their availability yet since many have not scheduled their own courses. Please contact the SI Coordinator for the most current information.
What is Supplemental Instruction?
Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a series of weekly sessions for students enrolled in large, high-risk liberal arts and science courses courses that have proven to be difficult for many students. SI is available to all students who want to improve understanding of the course material and course grades. SI session attendance is completely voluntary, but attendance records are kept to evaluate the program.
SI provides a time to get together with your classmates to compare notes, discuss important concepts, develop strategies for studying the subject, and to test understanding before the instructor does. However, SI is not a typical study session and we are proud of this! While the SI leader will come with ideas of what to discuss, students should bring questions and decide as a group what to work on. Rather than the leader talking all the time, students are encouraged to work collaboratively to solve problems and explain material.
SI is a popular source of academic support, because the sessions provide a relaxed atmosphere in which to learn. Students can come and go anytime during the session, and the small group setting provides a more comfortable environment for taking risks when asking questions and working toward finding answers. In addition, SI sessions give students the chance to get to know other students enrolled in the course.
Who is an SI Leader?
SI leaders are peers who have have a solid background in the course material, have already successfully completed the course, and have a desire to help other students. Unlike teaching assistants, SI leaders do not have access to student data or grades, and they do not help the instructor make decisions about the course. Most SI leaders will be in lecture every day, hearing what you hear and reading what you read. They do not relecture; they facilitate active learning of the course material to prepare for course assessments.
When do SI sessions start?
SI sessions normally begin during the second week of classes and are held throughout the semester. Each SI leader holds three to five sessions per week. It is recommended that you attend as many sessions as possible since each session will focus on new material. SI sessions are informal, so bring your notes, textbooks, and questions when you come to an SI session.
What is in it for you?
Students who attend SI sessions regularly often earn a higher course grade, and SI results
from previous semesters show the difference attending SI can make. By attending SI sessions, students develop a better understanding of the course content as well as more effective ways of studying. The skills and techniques learned in SI will help students in other courses as well.
What are the differences between SI and other forms of tutoring or academic support?
There are several key elements of SI that differentiate it from group tutoring and other forms of academic support:
The SI program is attached to specific courses which are historically difficult for students
Participation in the SI program is always voluntary
The SI leader normally attends class sessions
The SI leader is trained in specific teaching/learning theories and techniques
The SI program is supervised by a trained professional staff member
The SI program is offered only in classes in which the faculty member invites and supports SI
The SI sessions are conducted regularly and integrate course content with learning strategies
The SI leader plays a role in facilitating and encouraging the group to actively process the material rather than acting as an authority figure who lectures to participants
The SI program is evaluated rigorously