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“…having Jason (specifically because he knew this exact class while other tutors only had a general calculus knowledge) there to help me out when I got stuck or didn’t understand definitely benefitted me.”
~ Calculus Student
"I love how she gave us hard examples, making the test easier!"
~ Organic Chemistry Student
Faculty members associated with targeted SI courses play a key role in the success of Supplemental Instruction at the University of Cincinnati. It is advantageous if faculty are interested in and enthusiastic about the SI program. For example, faculty should allow SI leaders to attend lectures, be available to meet with them during office hours to discuss their session plans, and provide feedback as needed. The time with SI leaders also provides a forum for them to talk with you about specific student concerns within the course.
SI leaders support classroom instruction in every way. SI leaders do not participate if students are complaining about the course instructor. The SI program is offered only in classes where the faculty member understands and supports SI. SI leaders will meet with you to keep you informed about what is happening in the sessions.
With Supplemental Instruction as part of your class, you will receive feedback before the students complete course evaluations. SI improves student interactions in the class, and you will see more students succeed and continue in the course sequence. SI improves student understanding of content by using collaborative learning techniques. Lastly, SI provides students with the opportunity to work closely with and be mentored by top students in the content area.
National data shows that students who participate in SI earn higher course grades and are more likely to participate in lecture than students who do not participate. At the University of Cincinnati, students who participate in SI sessions earn, on average, course grades that are one half to one full letter grade higher than those of students who do not participate in SI. More information on the impact of SI on student success can be found here.
While SI may differ from other types of study sessions, it may also have some things in common. It may be helpful for you to think of the items below on a continuum.
Unlike other programs, SI leaders attend all class lectures and read all assigned texts.
In addition to demonstrating content competency, SI leaders are trained to think about how they achieved this competency. Training includes process and methodology applicable to the subject and ways in which that knowledge can best be transmitted to students.
When successful, the SI groups show a statistically lower rate of D and F grades and withdrawals and higher average course grades. Statistical differences are rarely tested in other study/review sessions.
While SI leaders demonstrate proficiency in the content area, they also model the learning processes necessary for content mastery. SI leaders function as model students rather than authority figures.
In addition to dealing with content, the SI sessions include information on taking notes, anticipating test questions, developing vocabulary, and utilizing memory aids, but these skills are not covered in isolation. Students develop thinking and reasoning skills that characterize intellectual maturity.
SI helps students formulate and answer inference, synthesis, and application questions. Asking and answering their own questions helps students develop a more sophisticated mode of inquiry.