New support program at Vol State helps students tackle the tough subjects

Submitted on April 26, 2010 at 9:10 AM

The topic is the human nervous system and the material might cause students to be nervous about the next test. Anatomy and Physiology is one of the toughest classes at Volunteer State Community College. But a new type of study group provides help. The discussion leader has taken the classes previously and received an A. It's part of a new program called Supplemental Instruction (SI).

"It's about encouragement," said SI group leader Melody McVey of Gallatin. "We talk about what everyone is dealing with in the class. I think students get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have to learn in A and P."

It's more than a study group. The group leader has proven success in the subject and can provide insight and study tips from a student perspective. McVey aced the course several years ago and is now pursuing a nursing degree. Her help provides a knowledge and background that students in a normal study group might not have.

"It gives you a different perspective on the subject," said student Frank Jackson of Nashville. "You know that you are doing all you can to succeed in the class."

Student Jill Grenhaw of Gordonsville asks a question about the last test, looking for a new approach to the subject. The SI program began this year in the Math and Science Division.

"Our goal is to keep expanding SI to many courses in many different departments," said SI coordinator Brian Fischer. "We target the classes students traditionally struggle in. The students feel more relaxed in the groups and they have the opportunity to ask a lot of questions."

Fischer says research shows that the majority of students in Supplemental Instruction groups can bring their marks up by a full letter grade. Jackson is hoping that a good grade will help him as he applies to the extremely competitive Radiologic Technology program at Vol State. Grenhaw plans on applying to the TSU nursing program.

SI is just one of several ways Vol State supports students to help them succeed in the classroom. There are a wide range of tutoring and support centers available on campus, covering many different subjects. Visit www.volstate.edu/LearningHelp for a list.

For more information about Supplemental Instruction and a list of current courses offering the program visit www.volstate.edu/SupplementalInstruction


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