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SI and Study Groups Educator and Staff FAQ

Professional staff are always available to answer educators or staff questions, receive feedback about students' SI or Study Group experience, or listen to ideas on how to improve the program. Educators or staff may also request SI or Study Group for courses where they are currently not offered. You can reach the SI and Study Group Program staff by sending an e-mail to aah@ucsd.edu or go to our team page to find AAH professional staff information

What are SI and Study Groups?

Supplemental Instruction (SI) and the Study Group program support students enrolled in courses that have been typically challenging and/or foundational to their majors. The sessions promote students working as a community of learners and active engagement in study skills and strategies to master the content knowledge. Undergraduate students are hired as facilitators of the sessions. Their formal titles are Leaders. These students receive an initial 10-hours of training in facilitation techniques and collaborative learning strategies along with weekly follow-up trainings during the quarter. We regularly invite faculty for which we are supporting their course to our trainings to observe and understand the program components.

How are SI and Study Groups different?

The Supplemental Instruction program is an internationally accredited by University of Missouri International Center for SI. Study Groups, a version of SI, are fully accredited with the difference being how the sessions are held. Study Group sessions are 80-minutes one time per week, compared to three 50-minute SI sessions.

Both Study Group and SI Leaders facilitate sessions and have already completed the courses at UC San Diego. All Leaders are trained in collaborative learning techniques, promoting community, and developing a safe and respectful environment of learners. The SI Leaders are required to attend all lectures each week whereas Study Group Leaders attend lecture one time per week or as needed upon instructor request. Instructors work with SI professional staff to arrive at the best option for lecture attendance. 

How can I inform my students about the SI and Study Group Program?

AAH professional staff support a number of ways to assist you in informing your students about participating in SI or Study Groups and the benefits. Visible support of the SI/Study Group program by the instructor encourages students' participation in this academic support resource as determined by program evaluation.

  • Provide a link on the course web site to the AAH main web page. 
  • Create announcements for instructors to deliver on their course sites, websites, or in lecture slides about the SI and Study Group program. 
  • Provide opportunity for the Leader to make an in-class 1-3 minute announcement of their sessions.
  • Inform course TAs about the program and encourage them to make announcements in their discussion sections.
  • Refer students to the program during office/student hours.

Do Course Instructors and SI/Study Group Facilitators interact during the term?

We respect faculty time and therefore try to limit unnecessary contact between Leaders and course instructors. However, we do encourage instructors to interact with the Leaders, if they wish. Here are some ways that faculty may interact with SI/SG Leaders:

  • Ask the Leader to meet with them and their TAs in their course weekly meetings
  • Meet with the Leader at the beginning of the term to provide an overview of the course
  • Look for messages from SI/SG program staff with program updates
  • Request from SI/SG program staff for Leader feedback
  • Post lecture conversations with the Leader for updates on participating student session takeaways
  • Add Leaders to the course Canvas sites to make SI/SG session announcements

Why do SI and Study Group Leaders need access to my course website or other online tools?

Leaders are expected to promote small group learning through engaging facilitation. It is important for them to be current with the course content and schedule by having access to the course syllabus and content notes that you may put on your learning management site. This helps the SI and Study Group Leaders prepare for their sessions. Their session plans are designed to support the lecture material. Leaders gain credibility by ensuring that their sessions are relevant and timely. 

How can SI or Study Group be requested if it is not currently offered for a course?

To request SI or Study Group for a course, please e-mail us at aah@ucsd.edu. The SI and Study Group Program Staff will evaluate the request and the feasibility of offering additional groups. We often meet one-on-one with the faculty and the Vice Chair of Undergraduate Education for the department to learn more about the course and the needs for academic support. It is ideal to request SI before the start of the term, but requests will be accepted at any point in the term. While the AAH would like to honor all requests, it may not be possible in all cases. However, we are able to consult on options that would be mutually supportive in place of SI or SG.

What feedback have educators provided about the SI and Study Group Program?

  • I have had the pleasure of having the support of the SI Leaders inside and outside of my course this half of a year. I have noticed a significant difference in students’ questions; both quantity and quality, as well as a much friendlier atmosphere in the lecture and between the students themselves. -- Physics Instructor
  • To myself and many students, the games and puzzles actually provide a fresh approach to challenging concepts in mathematics and allow students to view mathematics with a more positive outlook. -- Math Instructor
  • I wish all Instructors for all courses that are perceived as difficult by the students were able to get this type (SI) of support — it is extremely beneficial to both me as an Instructor and to the students taking the course. Clearly, it helped students get a higher grade in the course. -- Engineering Instructor

Who facilitates the SI and Study Groups?

SI and Study Group Leaders are undergraduate students who have successfully completed the course in a previous term who are trained in collaborative learning and facilitation techniques. Their primary responsibility is to help participants work together and learn from each other. Leaders do not teach, tutor or lecture. Leaders are hired at the beginning of the academic year, or term, as the need arises.

Who should participate in SI or Study Groups?

All students enrolled in the course are eligible to attend SI or Study Group sessions. Students of all ability levels are encouraged to participate. SI and Study Groups provide a great opportunity to have a set study time each week and the opportunity to work with peers to master course material. However, it may not be a fit for all students. Students should participate if they are interested in working each week with their peers, are willing to actively participate in meetings, and enjoy studying in a small group environment.

SI and Study Groups help students learn the material in a deeper, more concrete way. Sessions that are effective generate positive energy, encourage active participation, teaches discipline, and requires commitment from participants. These skills are all important criteria for life-long learning. These learning skills are transferrable to other courses and/or content.

COVID-19 Student Information

Due to the current situation of COVID-19, all SI/SG sessions will be remote. Please note that the Academic Achievement Hub is using Adobe Connect for its remote sessions.

Our programs support academic integrity for all students. For more information, view the Academic Integrity Office web page.

We are committed to providing access to students with disabilities.  To request assistance or an accommodation, please email AAH@ucsd.edu or fill out the Google Form.