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)?

  • SI is an academic support program attached to historically challenging courses at the College of Charleston.
  • The program attempts to improve student performance by providing regularly scheduled out-of-class study sessions facilitated by a SI leader.
  • Three sessions are held weekly for students in the SI-supported course, each lasting 50 minutes.
  • 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? SI Leaders:

  • Have taken and have excelled in the course.
  • Come highly recommended by their professors.
  • Attend intensive and on-going training on conducting SI sessions and facilitating student learning effectively.
  • Are supervised by a trained professional staff affiliated with the College of Charleston’s Center for Student Learning.
  • Attend class alongside students, take notes, participate in class activities and do assigned readings.

What can you expect during a SI session?

  • SI leaders come prepared with something for the students to do. Collaborative learning techniques include:
    • working in teams on practice quizzes.
    • learning problem solving techniques.
    • learning 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.
    • working through activities to help you learn the language (vocabulary) of the discipline.
    • conducting 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.  You will find that your SI Leader will guide you in discovering answers on your own, rather than simply giving you the answers!

How can I get the most benefit from attending SI?

  • SI only works if you put in the work! Here are some tips that will make your attendance at SI most effective:
    • Come to SI at least once per week. Our data show that 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 the session. 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.