Supplemental Instruction (SI)
What is Supplemental Instruction (SI)?
Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a method of improving student performance in “difficult” courses, combining “how to learn” with “what to learn”.
SI sessions are scheduled parallel to the regular education and are guided and facilitated by a “senior” student, the SI leader.
The sessions are based on collaborative learning activities to improve understanding of difficult parts of the course material.
Examples of collaborative activities used (UMKC, 2014) include:
- Group discussions to process difficult parts of the course material.
- Problem solving in small groups.
- “Think/pair/share”. In this activity, the group members first work individually for a few minutes to think about a problem or question or to go through a smaller piece of the course literature/lecture notes on a difficult topic. The second step is to discuss ideas/reflections/thoughts regarding the topic with a partner. The final step is to share the outcomes from the pair discussions in a larger group.
- “Jigsaw”. Here, group members are broken into subgroups. Each subgroup works on a different aspect of the same problem or is tasked with different questions on the course material or course related issues. They then share/present their part of the “puzzle” with the large group.
SI at LTH
SI at LTH is used in introductory courses in all 3-year BSc and 5-year MSc engineering programs, as well as in most 2-year international MSc programs.
The SI-leaders receive a 2-day training prior to the start of their job, focussing on the idea of SI, group management and learning activity strategies as well as some practical training. Once the leaders start working, they are supervised continuously through supervisor meetings every other week as well as through feedback from personal coaches.
Example of courses supported by SI within the MSc in Engineering programs are:
- Calculus in one variable
- Linear algebra
- General chemistry
- Introductory physics
Examples of courses within two-year master programs are:
- Urban Water
- Food Chemistry and Nutrition
- Foundations of Risk Assessments
- Warehousing and Materials Handling
The Pre-University Course also benefits from SI.
Read more about our Supplemental Instruction (SI) program (in Swedish).