Monday, March 25, 2013

Supplemental Instruction goes virtual for online help

You may have seen the posters, read the blog about it, or even sat in on a session or two of Supplemental Instruction (SI), but did you know that you can have these sessions from the comfort of your home? Vol State is getting ahead in technology by offering virtual Supplemental Instruction.
“The advantage of doing a virtual session is that a student that has a really tight schedule during the day can go on the net and speak with an S.I. leader online,” said Toni Murad, S.I. Coordinator.  
It’s hard enough for some students to find time to make it to campus for classes, so finding time for help can be even more difficult. With virtual S.I, students can share information over the web using their smart phones, computers, and/or land-line phones.
“There are students that benefit from going to campus (for Supplemental Instruction), but I believe that when students get busy, virtual sessions have an equal spot,” said Katie Maiella, Supplemental Instruction Leader.

Sarina Milonis is a student who works three jobs and she said with her hectic schedule, virtual S.I has helped her maintain an A in her speech class.
In virtual sessions students get live interaction with their S.I. leaders. They can talk back and forth by logging into the discussion using video chat or by telephone. There are flash cards, quizzes and practice worksheets that can be taken online during a session.

"The book (speech textbook) is very abstract and it doesn't help you understand the material," said Milonis. "The games and flashcards help you understand the material so much better."

If a student cannot make it to a discussion, the leader can record the session and send the student a link to view at a later time.
“We try to accommodate students’ schedules, not every, but most,” Maiella said. 
Currently the virtual session is only available for one speech class, but with the success that it is having, there may be more classes to come. 
“I think it has a lot of potential in the future,” said Murad.

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