History of SI
History of Supplemental Instruction at Gallaudet University
During the fall semester of 2002, two presenters, from the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC), were invited to Gallaudet University to talk about the Supplemental Instruction Program (SI) at their institution. Staff within the Tutorial & Instructional Programs (TIP) felt this program could be an answer to a myriad of related issues experienced by tutors and students. It was as if a “bug” bit two staff in particular who were attracted to the whole concept with enthusiasm and began exploring how Gallaudet could incorporate this fantastic concept into the scheme of academic excellence and student retention.
The presenters described how SI was designed and incorporated at UMKC and shared data comparing performance results between students who attended SI sessions with those who did not. The results were astounding and we were enthralled with the whole concept. We wanted to try it and experiment on a very small scale but felt training was essential for us to make a positive go of the pilot implementation. Sanremi LaRue and Linda Williams sought administrative approval to attend UMKC’s training program for coordinators of SI programs on how to design, implement and run a SI program at Gallaudet. They attended the training in Kansas City during April 2003. The training covered the following topics:
- Procedures for selecting SI courses and SI leaders
- Theoretical frameworks underlying the SI model
- Effective learning strategies
At the completion of the training, they received copies of the reproducible SI supervisor and leader manuals and certificates of completion.
The training excited Ms. LaRue and Ms. Williams for a number of reasons. Of the myriad of issues; the number one complaint of tutors was the issue by professors and students alike, that the former were not explaining concepts or demonstrating formulas in the exact way faculty were doing in the classrooms. The problem was tutors generally know the subject matter because they took the course previously and not necessarily with the same professor or at Gallaudet. Students felt caught between the tutor and their professors; and this increased anxiety and frustration on the part of the student. Supplemental Instruction provided a solution to this dilemma by having the SI Leader attend classes with students and obtaining the same information as the students. This paved the way for enhanced academic collaboration between the SI Leader, students, and the professor.
The first attempt at providing SI to a select few courses took place during the fall 2003 semester using four TIP staff members. It was a very interesting journey for us. We have learned from this experience to do the following:
- To offer SI to a course with a SI Leader who has taken the course
- To offer SI to a course only when the faculty or an administrator requests it the semester prior to the following semester
- That SI for select courses must be planned well in advance in a semester prior to the next so that SI Leaders can receive appropriate training well in advance
- That SI be offered for a course with a high failure rate (D, F and WD grades)
- At UMKC they began to explore using video supplemental instruction (dubbed VSI) to review certain content in some courses, especially remedial mathematics, Sanremi and Linda became intrigued with the idea of developing videos that reviewed basic mathematical concepts. Over the course of the summers of 2005 and 2006, TIP produced videos explaining basic mathematical concepts and put them online under the “Math Works!” website.
Because of the first attempt with offering SI to a few courses during the fall 2003 semester, Sanremi LaRue presented at The 3rd International Conference on Supplemental Instruction held in Boston, Massachusetts. The presentation, Embarking on a New Beginning: Supplemental Instruction for Gallaudet University Students, shared the experience of setting up SI and not having a budget to operate with plus showing the final outcomes as to how well the project met the objectives of student grades, retention and mobility towards graduation.
As a result of the video project for basic mathematics, Sanremi LaRue and Earl Parks presented at the International Conference on Supplemental Instruction in Malmo, Sweden during the week of May 26, 2006. The presentation was on VSI: Using My.Video and Blackboard for Developmental Mathematics.
Additionally, at The 3rd Conference of the Association for the Tutoring Profession held in Orlando, Florida on April 3, 2007 Sanremi LaRue, Shannon Augustine, and Cindy Officer presented on Tutoring Using Apreso Classroom and Blackboard for Developmental Mathematics. This presentation showed how video supplemental instruction (VSI) was created for basic math classes that were visual, appropriate to a deaf and hard of hearing audience, and were made accessible online.
Since that initial offer of SI, we have offered SI to a few select courses until the summer of 2009. Due to the “Long Range Strategic Plan” (LRSP) adopted by Gallaudet University as part of the recruitment and retention plan, TIP wrote a LRSP outlining how SI can contribute to retention of students and assist them towards planned graduation. The University administration urged and encouraged the expansion of SI to include more courses for the fall 2009 semester.
UMKC has a website listing colleges and universities around the world that offer Supplemental Instruction. Gallaudet University is on that list. http://www.umkc.edu/cad/SI/programs.shtml