Saint Xavier University Bell

Learning Center

Supplemental Instruction

Supplemental Instruction is a nationally renowned academic support program that specifically targets challenging courses. Students enrolled in courses that have supplemental instruction are able to attend two 50-minute sessions each week of the semester. Sessions are voluntary, confidential and free. There is no sign-up necessary -- students simply show up to as many sessions as they like throughout the semester. Students who participate in supplemental instruction on a regular basis often have a better understanding of difficult material, better test outcomes and higher course grades.

What should I expect?

Supplemental Instruction sessions are meant to be interactive, collaborative and holistic. This means students who attend shouldn't come to a session expecting a "typical class." Students do not spend time in the sessions being passive recipients of yet another lecture -- instead they are asked to synthesize, analyze and apply class concepts during the actual sessions. Sessions often involve: preparing for exams through practice questions/quizzes, comparing and reviewing notes or the most important parts of the lectures, discussing and developing strategies to best learn material and playing fun, interactive games. We believe that students learn best through actively collaborating and engaging with course material and each other. Many students report that their favorite part of these sessions is getting to know other students in the same course who they may never have interacted with.

Our Supplemental Instruction Leaders

Supplemental Instruction sessions are led by one or two students who have taken and excelled in the course in the past. These students are nominated by the professor as someone who demonstrates leadership potential and strong academic abilities. They are then vetted and trained by Learning Center/Writing Studio personnel before starting their sessions. The leaders are taught to facilitate learning, not to re-lecture course material. They aim to be model students, demonstrating successful study strategies for SXU's most difficult courses. Lastly, they have good working relationships with the instructors of the course, who provide guidance over the sessions and often give the leaders useful study materials, like past exams and study guides.

How do I know if there are Supplemental Instruction sessions for one of my classes?

Supplemental Instruction is often found in biology, chemistry and other traditionally difficult STEM courses. You can always stop by the Learning Center/Writing Studio to see a full list of courses that have supplemental instruction, along with the dates and locations. The leaders also make announcements in the targeted class throughout the semester regarding the dates, times and locations of the sessions.

I need additional help. What options are available?

If you cannot attend the sessions for your class or need more attention outside of the session, the Learning Center/Writing Studio always has tutors ready to help -- even for courses that have supplemental instruction. Tutoring occurs in small groups, so you can be sure that you will receive more individualized attention. Learn more about tutoring or schedule a tutoring appointment today.