Midterms season is quickly approaching. For many students, this will be their first experience with tests at a University level. Luckily, UBC Okanagan has many resources to help students study and get help with the material in their classes. One of the resources available on campus is Supplemental Learning (SL). Like the Math and Science Centre, Learn Smart, and Learning Coaches, Supplemental Learning is a part of UBCO Learning Resources.
According to UBC Okanagan’s website for Supplemental Learning, this resource is “offered in historically difficult first- and second-year courses, such as Chemistry, Physics, and Calculus. These courses traditionally have a high D, F, and W rate and usually a high enrolment of more than 150 students.” This semester, there are 13 different first and second year courses that have SL sessions. Some of these courses, such as Math 100 and Chemistry 111/121, have multiple SL leaders who offer sessions at different times. This variety enables more students to attend, even with a busy schedule.
Sara Stanton, a fourth-year student, is an SL leader this year. She runs the Psychology 111 SL session. As an SL leader Stanton attends each lecture and then plans group learning sessions to help students understand the material that is specific to their course. Stanton explains her purpose as facilitating “group learning and (to) help students learn the material in the best way possible.”
This year is Stanton’s first year as an SL leader. She had been involved with the Learning Resource department as a Learning Coach for the last two years. Stanton was chosen to facilitate the Psychology 111 sessions as she had “taken numerous lower and upper level psychology courses” and enjoys the subject immensely.
Like the other programs offered by UBCO Learning Resources, SL sessions are completely free to students. Stanton describes the programs as being for “everybody.” She states that “any student is welcome to attend any sessions.”
Students do not have to attend every SL session, they can specifically come to the ones where they feel like they need more learning support. However, SL sessions are not a replacement for class.
The Supplemental Learning website clearly states that SL leaders do not lecture or re-lecture the materials gone over in class. Rather they are running these sessions to help students “think about the lectures [they] hear and the books [they] read, and then put it all together.”
SL leaders also provide sample questions and activities that help [students] work with class concepts, among other strategies to help students interact with the course material in a helpful and meaningful way.
Not only do SL sessions get students to engage with their courses, make friends, and stay on top of their studies, there is research proving that attending SL session does improve the overall grade a student receives in the course. The “students who attend SL five or more times throughout the semester [will] see a grade improvement of ½ to ¾ of a letter grade.”
For students interested in learning more about SL sessions or are curious to see if their courses have an SL session, you can visit their website at https://students.ok.ubc.ca/learning-supports/sl.html.