We at Harford CC in Maryland are struggling with SI vs individual tutoring as well. Recently, I was asked to come with a "magic number" of student attendees at an SI session to make it cost-effective over one-on-one tutoring. The number we came up with was four. Many of our SI sessions get only 2 or 3 attendees on a regular basis, so I'm a little concerned that administration will axe SI to save money. My argument against that is that SI needs time to grow (this is only our second semester using it) and faculty support is absolutely vital. So I presented an overview of the program at a general faculty meeting, hoping that would not only stir up interest but also validate the program as a sanctioned "movement" on campus. The results are not clear yet. Small group may prove the way to go, but I am so sold on SI's premises of the leader taking the course along with the students and interacting so closely with the faculty, fostering collaboration among students, and promoting study skills beyond the scope of course content that I would hate to give it up!!
Ginny Reiner

>>> Catherine Quinnett <[log in to unmask]> 03/29/00 01:10PM >>>
Hello.  Here at Linn-Benton Community College we try to offer Supplemental Instruction for certain high-risk courses.  We also offer individual tutoring.  We are often challenged by two things: locating capable students who have the time to implement SI, and justifying the cost of SI when attendance at SI sessions is low.  Individual tutoring costs much less than SI and we are considering converting some of our SI to either individual tutoring or group tutoring to meet the needs of the apparently small number of students who need extra help.  Have other institutions made this transition, and what do you think has been the impact on the tutors and the students?  What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of SI versus tutoring?  I am particularly interested in hearing from other community colleges.

Also, what do you think about hiring students who are currently enrolled in a course to work as a tutor for that course?  Our qualification standard has always been that the tutor must have successfully completed the course(s) he/she is tutoring in order to competently help other students. However, some of our faculty are encouraging us to offer paid tutoring positions to students who have not yet completed the course.  We would like to hear about the experiences of other colleges in this regard.

Thank you so much for your input.  I have come to really value this resource.

Catherine Quinnett, Tutor Coordinator
Linn-Benton Community College
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