Supplemental Instruction is an aspect of academic support that adds weekly review sessions to specific, targeted high-risk courses. A Supplemental Instructor (SI) is usually a student who has previously taken the course and has excelled in it. The main difference between Peer Tutors and SI’s is that Peer Tutors do not attend classes, while SI’s attend targeted classes and hold weekly review sessions.
Students are expected to come prepared to the weekly review sessions by having completed assigned readings and bringing their class notes, textbooks, and writing materials. SI’s are not teachers, and the weekly review sessions are not substitutes for attending the class; however, SI’s encourage group discussions and assist students in building skills needed to excel in the course.
The major benefit of having an SI in a high-risk course is to provide an environment outside of the classroom where students can feel comfortable among themselves to ask questions freely, discuss reading materials, exchange ideas among their peers, and prepare ahead of time before an exam. Over time, students who attend weekly review sessions become independent learners and even apply the study skills gained during their review sessions to their other courses. Students who attend and fully participate in the sessions should improve on their grades.