Students to present during international conference

February 4th, 2008

Four students from Indiana University East have been selected to present at the International Conference for the International Center for Supplemental Instruction in Orlando, Florida. The conference will be held May 28-30, 2008.

IU East Supplemental Instruction leaders presenting at the conference are Ann Fost, Zak Zurwell, and Brian Duff of Richmond, and Dorothy Campbell of Liberty. The Supplemental Instruction Program offers free academic assistance to students enrolled in challenging entry-level courses. SI sessions are led by student SI leaders.

SI leaders are trained by Tutorial Services and attend the classes for which they provide supplemental instruction.

Fost, a Secondary Education Major in Social Studies, will present “Making Online SI Work for You.” Online instruction is a unique approach for SI.

“This is topical because so many universities offer online classes and students still need guidance, especially if they are new to online, college courses, or simply don’t know how to take an online course,” Fost said.

Overcoming challenges for the online class has helped Fost to strengthen her SI sessions. She has had to develop an ongoing discussion for course participants, continue through system glitches, and instruct students on how to navigate the site.

“What I intend to demonstrate in my presentation is how to show people how to establish a well-run site from day one, how to integrate an SI into the course effectively, and how to create a good learning environment for online students,” Fost said.

Zurwell is an Elementary Education major. His presentation, “Can an SI Session Be Too Large?” will focus on different strategies and methods of dealing with large class sizes. He will discuss his approach to keeping students involved and focused for the learning experiences set up during each session.

“Our activities are designed to really help students learn in many different ways. In most sessions the students get to see and interact with the material in ways that just don’t happen in normal classroom settings,” Zurwell said. “We also try to make everything as fun as possible so that the concepts are no longer tedious, but interesting.”

Campbell and Duff will present “Don’t Stall Success; Give Students a Jumpstart!” Duff is working on a bachelor in general studies degree. Campbell graduated with a Bachelor in General Studies degree from IU East in the spring 2007.

Jumpstart programs at IU East have been successfully utilized,” Campbell said. The three-day program was created in reaction to students who were struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of the course curriculum despite the presence of an SI leader. The program provides students a firm foundation in Spanish pronunciation prior to the beginning of the course.

“The goal of our presentation is to introduce the concept of a jumpstart program to those in attendance,” Campbell said. “The intention of such programs is to offer students an introduction to the course prior to the beginning of the academic term, thus boosting the students’ chances for success, as well as their confidence levels.”

Campbell and Duff use a relaxed atmosphere to help students feel confident about using their language skills. They also use tools such as a radio playing Spanish language stations or develop games for fun and to reinforce the language.

The SI leaders are looking forward to attending the conference to gain experience and tips on leading sessions.

“It will be great to be able to interact with and learn from fellow SI leaders around the world,” Duff said. “Being able to share a little bit of my success with them will be a wonderful experience.”

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