What are the Academic Benefits of SI?
- Better course grade and a higher GPA.
- The material you master is valuable in other courses.
- Learn the language (jargon) of the course by talking with other students.
- Encourages understanding of the course material through multiple student perspectives.
- Learn to study more effectively and efficiently to increase free time.
- Veteran student perspective gives students insight into questions the professor may ask.
- Learn study skills to help with current and future courses.
- Knowledge stays fresh in your mind, and review of information is ongoing.
- Able to ask questions about course material to as small group of peers instead of the large lecture hall of students.
- Learning and studying with others helps you recognize and learn important information that you may have missed or not understood before you take and exam.
- Being in a relaxed environment where the information is discussed in a different way.
What are the Personal Benefits of SI?
- Opportunity to meet other student in class, form study groups, and possibly make life-long friends.
- Meet students to sit by in class that provide motivation to go to class.
- Opportunity to talk with SI coaches, who are successful students, about how to be a successful student.
- Meet students with who you can form study groups.
- Improve communication skills
- Talking with other students and the SI coach about majors, what to expect, classes to take, and other advice.
- Get motivated to take responsibility for your own learning and personal development.
- Increase your self-confidence in academic and social interactions.
What are the Cognitive Benefits of SI?
- Greater understanding of the course material.
- Develop higher-level thinking skills.
- Test your knowledge of the material before class quizzes and exams.
- Increase awareness of and tolerance for ambiguity or complexity.
- Gain understanding of multiple perspectives by working with a diverse group of students.
- Practice critical thinking skills in the context of the course material.
When do SI sessions start?
SI sessions normally begin during the second week of classes and are held throughout the semester. Each SI coach holds two to three sessions per week. It is recommended that students attend as many sessions as possible since each session will focus on new material. SI sessions are informal; students should bring their notes, textbooks, and questions when they come to an SI session.
What are the differences between SI and other forms of tutoring or academic support?
There are several key elements of SI that differentiate it from group tutoring and other forms of academic support:
Tutor leads discussions/examples
Leader begins discussions or examples but hands over duties to students
Tutor writes on board and demonstrates examples
Student write on board and leader sits backs and checks for understanding
Tutor tends to do most of the work and students watch
Students do much of the work and Leader watches
Usually one group or one-on-one where tutor helps students
Usually many small groups (pairs) that collaborate and help each other
Students engage with tutor
Students engage with each other
- The SI program is attached to specific courses which are historically difficult for students.
- Participation is the SI program is always voluntary.
- The SI coach attends every class sessions and knows exactly what is expected of the student.
- The SI coach is trained in specific teach/learning theories and techniques.
- The SI program is supervised by a trained professional staff member.
- The SI program is offered only in classes in which the faculty member invites and supports SI.
- The SI sessions are conducted regularly and integrate course content with learning strategies.
- The SI coach plays a role in facilitating and encouraging the group to actively process the material rather than acting as an authority figure who lectures to participants.
- The SI program is evaluated rigorously.