Supplemental Instruction (SI) sessions are typically peer-led group study sessions for selected courses. The sessions are organized to allow students the opportunity to interact with their classmates as they construct knowledge. Participation in peer-led weekly group study sessions is optional.
SI sessions provide a chance for students to compare notes, discuss challenging concepts, and develop strategies for studying the subject. The sessions are facilitated by a trained SI leader: an undergraduate student who has recently taken the course and earned a high grade. The leader shares with the students what they have learned about how to study effectively for the course. The leader attends lectures, takes notes and communicates regularly with the professor. The leader helps the students become independent learners by planning activities that encourage students to work together and process material themselves.
SI targets historically difficult courses that show a high rate of D's, F's, and W’s. Salem State has offered SI for more than 20 years in subject areas such as: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geological Sciences, Geography, Math, Psychology, World Languages and Cultures, and Sociology.
Typically, the students who have attended multiple SI sessions:
Improve their grade in the course
Acquire short-term and long-term study skills
Learn how to prepare more thoroughly for exams, both content, and format
Learn how to organize class materials
Become better independent learners
Recently, we have also placed Supplemental Instruction leaders in lab courses. SI Leaders in lab courses directly help students, alongside the professor, for a more hands on experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an SI Leader?
SI leaders are students who have taken the class before and earned a high grade. They are prepared to share with you how to study effectively for this course. They know the course content and will help guide you through it. SI Leaders either attend lectures and hold weekly group study sessions, or, they assist professors in lab courses.
How does it work?
In the weekly group study sessions, that are optional for students to attend, your SI leader will:
help you make good use of your study time
share with you the strategies they used to be successful in the course
help you think critically about the course material
What's in it for me?
If you attend SI sessions regularly, chances are you'll earn a better grade. Research shows that students who attend SI sessions regularly average one-half to one full letter grade higher than their classmates who don't attend. When you attend SI, you'll develop a better understanding of course content as well as more effective ways of studying. We hope you’ll make a few new friends or study partners, too!
When do sessions start?
SI sessions start the first or second week of classes. Your SI leader will survey the class with a list of possible days and times for the optional sessions and select the time that works for the majority of the class. Your SI leader will keep you informed about the time and location for sessions. Each session will be different because you'll have new material to discuss. SI sessions are informal. Bring your notes; bring your textbook; bring your questions; bring your coffee!
What does it cost?
SI costs you nothing except your time. Come as often as you'd like.
How will I know if SI is offered in my class?
The SI leader will introduce themselves on the first day.
What are my options if I cannot attend the weekly SI sessions?
SI sessions are an optional resource. We encourage you to meet with your professor during their office hours. In addition, there may be a peer tutor available for your course (please check for availability in Navigate). SI leaders are not available to tutor you outside the group study sessions unless they are also hired as peer tutors. Other free on-campus resources include the Math Lab, Writing Center, and the Accounting Lab.