Thursday, September 4, 2014

Need Help with Studying? Supplemental Instruction is Here

SI Instructor Connie Simpson leads a group session.
When Connie Simpson decided to go back to school last year, she knew she was going to need some help when it came to studying.

"I was a non-traditional student. I had been out of school for 26 years, and I was just terrified. I knew I needed something," she said.
Luckily, Vol State's Supplemental Instruction, or SI, program came to the rescue.
Supplemental Instruction is a student-led discussion group that allows students who might be having trouble with a specific course. 
"I found it to be very helpful. It reenforces what you are learning in the classroom, so it's a small group that kind of hangs out in between learning. It gives you an opportunity to sit with your classmates who have been taking notes and we can share it all," Simpson said.
Unlike the classroom, SI sessions are informal gatherings where students can share notes, study tips, and gain a better understanding of material covered in classes.
Simpson enjoyed the program so much, she became an SI instructor this semester, helping students with their science courses.
Students who received a B+ or higher lead the various SI groups.
Those sessions cover a range of classes from history to anatomy and physiology. 
Holly Guldeman is part of Simpson's SI group, and she enjoys diving deeper into material that will help her as she makes her way towards a career in radiology.
"Teachers have a small window of time, and they really can't individually focus. Here, anything I don't understand,  I can ask Connie and she has the time to explain it," she said.
One of the biggest benefits to the SI program is the chance for students to increase their grade by a full letter grade, according to SI Coordinator Toni Murad.
"Studies have found that students learn as much in a one-hour SI session that they would in two and a half hours studying on their own, so it has a real impact," Murad said.
Not every class offered at Vol State has an SI component. It's mostly offered for science and social science classes.
If you're interesting in joining an SI group, check with your instructor to see if one is available. There also will be fliers posted around campus in the coming weeks with more information about how to contact an SI instructor.
For more information, click here.

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