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The What & Why of SI


SI provides a series of weekly study sessions that focus on active learning of course content. Instead of being “talked at” in SI, you will instead discuss, practice, inquire, apply, interpret, and analyze course material in a collaborative group setting. In addition your SI leader will provide you with materials and learning strategies that will help you to learn how to master course content on your own.



What is Supplemental Instruction (SI)?
  • More about SI...
    • It is an academic support program attached to traditionally difficult science and mathematics courses.
    • The program attempts to improve student performance by providing regularly scheduled out-of-class study session facilitated by an SI leader.
    • Sessions are scheduled 3 times per week for 1 hour.
    • Students are encouraged to try and attend at least one of the three SI sessions per week.
    • The SI leader guides the students through course material by facilitating group discussion on important concepts; helping students develop appropriate learning strategies and study strategies; helping with problem solving methodology, and actively engaging students in learning.
    • SI is NOT just for students who are doing poorly in the class.  Any student who wishes to improve their understanding of concepts discussed in the course is encouraged to go to SI; however, attendance is voluntary.
    What is a SI Leader?
    • are usually upper level students (juniors or seniors) who have taken this course before and have excelled in the course.
    • are students who have excelled in their courses and come highly recommended by their professors.
    • attend intensive and on-going training on conducting SI sessions and how to facilitate student learning effectively.
    • are supervised by a trained professional staff affiliated with the College of Charleston’s Center for Student Learning.
    • are themselves students in the course in that they attend class, take notes, participate in class activities and do assigned readings.
What can you expect during a SI session?
  • SI leaders generally come prepared with something for the students to do. Such as
    • working in teams on practice quizzes.
    • learning problem solving techniques.
    • how to take, review and organize your notes effectively.
    • predicting test questions and learning more about the kinds of questions that may appear on exams or quizzes.
    • activities to help you learn the language (vocabulary) of the discipline.
    • critical reviews of your exams to help you tailor your studying to fix common test-taking problems.
    • SI Leaders DO NOT re-teach or re-lecture.  They are trained to facilitate learning.  So, don’t expect to have your questions answered by your SI leader; instead expect your SI leader to help you learn to ask good questions and find the answers to them!
Making the most of your time at a SI session!
  • SI only works if you attend SI the right way!  Here are some tips that will make your attendance at SI most effective:
    • Come to SI at least once per week! SI most benefits those who come on a weekly basis.  If you wait to come to only the SI sessions right before the exam…you will probably receive only minimal benefits. 
    • Come on time and ready to devote your full attention to this class! Always bring your textbook and class notes to SI.
    • Come to SI ready to participate in the activities! To really learn course material you have to participate by practicing, discussing, applying, and inquiring about what you are learning!
    • Always come to SI having reviewed the previous week’s material.  Go over the previous week’s notes, read the assigned readings and work on any assigned problems, or homework!
    • Be encouraging and supportive of other students when they are speaking during SI, but don’t be afraid to evaluate and give constructive feedback on other students’ work!
    • Use the strategies used in SI in your own studying at home!
    • Use SI as an opportunity to meet other students and form your own study groups!