Supplemental instruction (SI) is an internationally recognised student academic support system offered worldwide at universities and institutions of higher education. It provides extra group study sessions in difficult modules, facilitated by senior students who have already successfully completed the module concerned.
South Africa is the only country in the world where there are two centres for SI. They are the NWU in the north, and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in the south.
SI is offered free of charge to all students in targeted courses. It is a non-remedial approach to learning as the programme targets high-risk courses rather than high-risk students.
Research into the advantages of taking part in an SI programme shows that participating students benefit in terms of their motivation and their social cognitive and metacognitive behaviour. Charl says many students who complete the SI programme become lecturers.
For more information about supplemental instruction phone Mariaan Klopper at the NWU’s Academic Development and Support Office at X99 4870 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
When it comes to securing students’ success, our university is in a class of its own. The NWU has received international recognition for excellence and continued dedication and active involvement in supplemental instruction, and the university’s second international supplemental instruction trainer has been certified.
After receiving international recognition in 2010, the award was again presented in May this year during the ninth bi-annual International Conference for Supplemental Instruction (SI) held at the University of Missouri in Kansas City in the United States. The University of Missouri has been the first flagship SI programme owner in the US since 1973. The conference was attended by nearly 400 representatives from 100 countries.
“The award means that we are recognised as one of the outstanding SI programmes in the world,” says Ms Mariaan Klopper, project leader of SI at the Institutional Office.
The memorandum of understanding that the NWU signed with the University of Missouri in 2010 has been renewed during a ceremonial signing and SI trainer accreditation ceremony in Kansas City.
“The NWU has the biggest programme of this kind in the world.”
“There are 11 certified SI trainers in the world of which the NWU now has two,” says Mariaan, who was the first NWU staff member to receive this accreditation.
Dr Charl Nel is the NWU’s second certified supplemental instructor. His accreditation means that he can now train lecturers as SI supervisors, prospective SI programme leaders and students at the NWU and nationally, as well as internationally.
As international instructors for the SI programme, Charl and Mariaan now both serve on the executive board of the International Center for Supplemental Instruction.
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The former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (PU for CHE) has been involved with SI since 1996. After the merger in 2004, it was rolled out at the NWU too, where it became a strategic priority and part of the new university’s Institutional Plan.
Soon afterwards, in 2006, the NWU Council also accepted a Policy for Supplemental Instruction, making the NWU the first tertiary institution in the world where the management of the university chose to prioritise student success in such a way.
This secured a standardised academic student support programme for all students enrolled at different campuses of the NWU, underpinning the importance of academic access, success and retention at the university.
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