Sustaining Success Outcomes
After identifying three chemistry courses with consistently high repeatable grade rates (CHEM 100 D,F,W rates reached 33% in Spring 2016), Chemistry Department faculty and administrators partnered with the Center for Supplemental Instruction (SI), Instructional Technology Services, and the CSU Chancellor’s Office, to implement SI in three, sequential courses. Course Redesign with Technology grants have led to the sustainability of the SI Program, and fostering the expansion to the CHEM sequence, establishing student SI study habits early on, and providing students with consistent support throughout their studies in the three courses.
Supplemental Instruction Intervention Strategy
Chemistry Course Vertical Integration
A faculty representative from each of the three courses applied for, and was granted, CRT funding to support SI and to make course design optimizations and technological enhancements in each of their respective courses. The CRT portfolios for each of these projects are linked here (CHEM 100 (Love), CHEM 200/202 (Harrison, Holland, Carlson); CHEM 232 (Bergdahl). While the additional course redesign initiatives were complimentary but not directly tied to the SI interventions, many of the faculty leveraged opportunities to share the resources the CRT program afforded them, to further the SI effort in support of students’ success.
Student SI attendance, which was substantial in all three courses, but noticeably high (66%) in CHEM 232 (Organic Chemistry) serves as an early indicator that students’ familiarity with SI in other courses (CHEM 200/202, PSY 101) potentially prompted early and regular attendance practices.
Supplemental Instruction Student Participation
- Number of weekly Supplemental Instruction Sessions: 38
- Voluntary SI Session attendance: 38%
- Total CHEM student population: 3374
- Number of unique SI attendees: 1279
- Number of student SI visits: 6479
- Average number of student visits: 5
Supplemental Instruction Outcomes: Student Feedback
“I really enjoyed meeting new people from my class. By learning the material from the explanations of multiple people, I was able to understand the course material. The group setting was also very positive and, by realizing that other students were experiencing the same struggles I was, it helped me overcome my doubts and taught me that putting in the time and effort in studying will result in academic success.” -CHEM 200/202 Supplemental Instruction Attendee
Supplemental Instruction Outcomes: Faculty Feedback
“The “normal” average for a CHEM 232 1st exam is a low 50%, but this first exam it was much higher, it actually was 65%; 65% is a “B” in organic…something has changed and motivation seems very high. 65% is unheard of.” – Dr. Mike Bergdahl, Chemistry 232 (Organic Chemistry)
CHEM 100, 200/202, and 232: 2017-18 Student Performance Outcomes
|Fall 2017||Spring 2018|
|CHEM 100 (N=1145) 34% Attendance||CHEM 100 (N=368) 50% Attendance|
|Participation||SI (n=395)||Non-SI (n=750)||Participation||SI (n=183)||Non-SI (n=185)|
|Non DFW||91% (360)||83% (624)||Non DFW||82% (150)||71% (132)|
|DFW||9% (35)||17% (126)||DFW||18% (33)||29% (53)|
|Fall 2017||Spring 2018|
|CHEM 200/202 (N=634) 33% Attendance||CHEM 200/202 (N=744) 36% Attendance|
|Participation||SI (n=207)||Non-SI (n=427)||Participation||SI (n=267)||Non-SI (n=477)|
|Non DFW||95% (196)||87% (371)||Non DFW||97% (260)||95% (451)|
|DFW||5% (11)||13% (56)||DFW||3% (7)||5% (26)|
|Fall 2017||Spring 2018|
|CHEM 232 (N=247) 47% Attendance||CHEM 232 (N=227) 65% Attendance|
|Participation||SI (n=116)||Non-SI (n=131)||Participation||SI (n=147)||Non-SI (n=80)|
|Non DFW||85% (99)||72% (94)||Non DFW||94% (138)||69% (55)|
|DFW||15% (17)||28% (37)||DFW||6% (9)||31% (25)|
Introducing Virtual Supplemental Instruction
Professor Christopher Harrison employs capture technology in his 500 student General Chemistry course lectures, giving his students a dynamic perspective as they review recorded content. Harrison shared one of the devices he acquired with the support of the CRT grant, with the SI Program. As a result of Harrison’s consideration, SI Leaders began to explore Virtual SI, an opportunity to support students who may not be able to attend live SI Sessions, specifically commuter students, who were underrepresented in SI-attending populations.
Within weeks the Virtual SI beta, a synchronous/asynchronous offering using Zoom technology and the expertise of CHEM 200/202 SI Leaders Olivia and Samantha, generated more than 1,300 student views. The short subject-specific videos used few resources and employed many of the SI principles (wait time, redirecting questions, and checks for understanding). The video podcast format and casual rapport between the SI Leaders and their audience, who communicate via Zoom chat, created a low stakes and approachable atmosphere for student participants. Attendance was captured for synchronous and asynchronous sessions, and participation has steadily grown since the initial Spring 2018 launch. Virtual SI @ SDSU
“This year’s Outstanding Faculty Award goes to five faculty members in the Department of Chemistry for facilitating student success by applying to, attending and actively participating in the CSU Course Redesign and Technology Workshops. Along with adopting Supplemental Instruction these faculty also developed Flipped Classroom Videos, used Swivl, Mediasite Course Capture, Augmented Content Videos. We are commending them for actively recruiting their students to attend Supplemental Instruction and for spreading the word to their faculty colleagues. The overall takeaway, is that in nearly every instance students who attend SI Sessions significantly outperform their non-attending counterparts. Further, these differences are between 1/2 to nearly a FULL letter grade higher.” – Dr. Cathie Atkins, Associate Dean, College of Sciences
High Impact Practices
Supplemental Instruction Leaders for the CHEM courses report experiencing fulfillment in working with their peers, and appreciate the additional time spent on CHEM topics, as many of the SI Leaders are majoring in STEM disciplines. SI Leaders have been invited to work in faculty labs, travel abroad to conduct research, and they have secured multiple scholarships, internships, and other opportunities they attribute in part, to their SI student and faculty communities and skill sets.
The Course Redesign with Technology Sustaining Success support enabled the Chemistry Department and Supplemental Instruction Program to work together in an extremely focused and strategic manner. Faculty communication within the department, especially across the three CHEM courses, was strengthened and the opportunity to work with other departments in this capacity has come to light.