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Supplemental Instruction FAQ's

Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a program that supports student learning by utilizing peer tutoring and group study sessions. SI leaders are students who have successfully completed the course and who have demonstrated an understanding of course content. SI leaders attend all class meetings and then hold study sessions that are open to all students enrolled in that class. SI funds may be available to support departments creating learning centers or learning labs in which successful students act as tutors to facilitate the success of other students.

Which classes are best suited for Supplemental Instruction?

Supplemental Instruction is designed for classes with both high enrollments and high failure rates. SI is a great way for enrolled students to learn new study skills, enrich their comprehension of course content, work with peers, and become more invested in their own learning process.

What are the responsibilities of an SI leader?

SI leaders attend class meetings and hold study sessions outside of class time. SI leaders model good student behavior in the classroom (being on time, being prepared, asking questions and taking notes, etc.). Outside of the classroom, SI leaders offer study sessions in which active learning is the focus. SI leaders also promote the program in the classroom, reminding and encouraging students to attend the study sessions that best fit their schedules. SI leaders are required to attend SI training workshops throughout the semester that offer support and provide instructional strategies they can use in their sessions with students.

What are the limitations of an SI leader?

An SI leader's role is to support student learning. As such, there are some limitations on what is appropriate for them to do. SI leaders are not responsible for assessing or evaluating students. They may not submit or write exam questions or grade and record student grades. SI leaders focus on course content. They are not Writing Lab or Math Lab tutors. When enrolled students need additional help in writing or math, they should be pointed to the campus resources designed to meet those needs.

What are the responsibilities of a Professor to the SI leader?

In order to be most effective, SI leaders need support from the faculty with whom they work. Professors using SI in their courses encourage their students to attend SI sessions and encourage the SI leader to remind students of the study times and locations. SI leaders need copies of all materials used in the class. Professors provide SI leaders with the text, relevant course supplements, and any study materials distributed.

How can I arrange to have an SI leader in my class?

The steps to create a Supplemental Instruction option in your class are:

• complete the Supplemental Instruction Faculty Request Form (link to be added)
• submit the completed form and a copy of your syllabus for the course to the Center for Teaching and Learning (519 Lucas Hall).
• Once approved, the CTL notifies Career Services that we are seeking applications from students to fulfill the role of SI leader for your course.
•Encourage students you recommend to be SI leaders to consult the listings in Career Services and apply to the CTL for the position.
• The CTL is responsible for hiring, paying, and training SI leaders.

What are the qualifications of an SI leader?

SI leaders are successful students. In order to be considered an SI leader for a particular course, the student must have a strong understanding of the course content and be able to articulate that understanding to others. This means that the SI leader would have earned a grade of a B or higher in the course. Beyond this obvious requirement, SI leaders need to possess good time management skills, be able to work with groups, and occasionally with individual students. They also need to be flexible so that they can adapt their learning strategies as needed. Strong computer skills are a plus as some SI sessions may be held online.

What kinds of training/support do SI leaders receive?

The Supplemental Instruction Coordinator holds monthly training workshops which SI leaders are required to attend. These training workshops are a continuation of the PALs workshop held early in the semester. The workshops provide SI leaders and Learning Center tutors ongoing support in their work with their peers The focus of these workshops is always on how to improve the SI sessions and tutoring sessions. Topics range from learning new instructional strategies and adapting them to different learning styles to how best to plan an SI or tutoring session. In the past, leaders have planned sessions and given demonstrations of learning strategies they have used in their sessions. These workshops are held once a month on Friday from 1-3 PM.

What do SI and Learning Centers have in common? How are they different?

The goal of SI and Learning Centers (LC) is the same-supporting student learning. Departments on campus (Nursing, Chemistry, and Foreign Languages and Literature) are starting their own tutoring centers. Although the peer tutors working in these centers do not attend class meetings, some of their responsibilities are similar. Because of this, LC tutors are hired and trained by the Center for Teaching and Learning. The training begins early in the semester with the PALs workshop and continues during monthly training workshops for both SI leaders and LC tutors. The workshops are held once a month on Friday from 1-3 PM.

How can I contact the SI Coordinator?

Contact the SI Coordinator at the Center for Teaching and Learning, 518 Lucas Hall by phone: 314-516-7131 or email: ctlassistcoord1@umsl.edu .

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