SI’ goes beyond tutoring to give some students teaching experience

Julie Frank

Julie Frank

Anatomy (Biology 221) is notoriously known for being a challenging course.

Between keeping the vesicle and the ventricles of the brain straight, students look for additional help. Lucky for them, they don’t have to look far because that help can be found in supplemental instruction (SI).

“If you missed any area that the professor was explaining … or didn’t understand the lecture … the supplemental sections are a huge help,” said Zahra Alishiri, a biology major who attends anatomy SI.

SI is a service of TRiO Student Support Services and offers students taking “historically difficult courses” a review session, according to Kayte Haggerty, TRiO supervisor of SI.

The weekly review sessions are free for students. They are led by a peer with extensive knowledge in the subject. This peer, or SI leader, is paid to attend class regularly and take notes.

This provides students with an non-intimidating setting and puts the leader and students on same page.

At a typical SI session, Doug Timm, SI leader for anatomy, reviews the lecture from the previous class and answers students’ questions. In addition, Timm provides students with practice problems and exams. He also prepares them for upcoming tests by providing extra tips.

Although students do not get one-on-one attention as with a personal tutor, the benefits of attending sessions are high. It allows students to “feed and exchange information,” Timm said. The course material is absorbed more thoroughly and more quickly.

“It’s really helpful to hear everything again and prepare for the test,” freshmen nursing major Kelsey Krohn said. Krohn’s friend Bree Spindler, also a freshmen nursing major, agrees.

“He (Timm) knows what to prepare us for,” Spindler said.

SI is becoming popular among campuses nationwide and started at South Dakota State in fall 2005, Haggerty said. Then, the program only offered a SI session for Accounting 210. Now, it includes a total of six courses. Besides accounting and anatomy, other courses include, Biology 101, Chemistry 106, 112, and 114. Haggerty hopes to re-add Physics 111 to the list for fall 2007.

SI has grown in popularity with students on campus. Session attendance ranges from three to 40; however, anatomy attendance doubles. On an average night, 100 students crowd into Rotunda G to review with Timm. Come exam time, more students attend and some are forced to sit on the floor, according to Haggerty.

The SI program is now hiring SI leaders for the upcoming fall semester. For more information about the program contact Haggerty at 688-6653 or via e-mail at [email protected]. SI Instructor Doug Timm helps students prepare for anatomy practicals and tests.:Brandon DeVries