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Supplemental Instruction

University of Missouri-Kansas City (USA)

Supplemental Instruction (SI) programme was created by Deanna C. Martin, Ph.D. at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) in 1973. The programme was developed in response to the high drop-out and failure rate in historically difficult courses, particularly for minority and under prepared students. The programme differed from many other academic support programmes at the time, in that it offered a comprehensive and detailed model on how the programme should function while accommodating student needs. The programme is based on the principles of peer-collaborative learning and the integration of learning skills in a course-specific rather than remedial setting.

In 1981, after nine years of application and refinement at UMKC, the SI programme became one of the few post secondary programmes to win certification by the U.S. Department of Education as an Exemplary Educational Programme. With this award, SI became eligible for funds from the National Diffusion Network, the national dissemination agency for the U.S. Department of Education. With this funding the staff at UMKC began assisting other tertiary institutions in the country to implement the SI model.

Nelson Mandela University

The former University of Port Elizabeth implemented the SI programme in 1993, as a result partly of the transformation process which was taking place at that time. One of the key issues to emerge from this process was the University's commitment to students, and specifically to their academic development through a student centred learning approach.

The SI programme was selected by the University after a detailed survey of existing student academic development programmes both locally and abroad. The programme was adopted because it was felt that it could meet the holistic needs of its students, it could be instituted campus wide, and it was a cost effective programme with a proven track record. A pilot SI programme was begun in 1993 to evaluate the potential of the programme for the University. Particular attention was given to its cost effectiveness and its ability to act as a vehicle for transformation and a catalyst for change. Based on the success of these trails, the programme grew rapidly on campus and was retained by the NMMU. SI has been running for 21 years now and is offered across campuses in PE and George at Nelson Mandela University.