P531: Supplemental instruction in introductory biochemistry
The peer-learning technique of supplemental instruction (SI) was implemented in an introductory biochemistry course serving predominantly pre-nursing students to help students improve the processing and problem-solving skills required for success in chemistry. SI is a program that targets high-risk courses instead of high-risk students, thus students of varying preparedness attend the sessions each week. Using this approach, students learn various study skill strategies from the SI leader and each other while learning the course content. As SI is an optional learning resource, it is of interest to understand the reasons students choose or do not choose to attend SI sessions. Here, surveys were administered at every SI session to assess the reasons students opt to attend. Specifically, as part of the course, students completed weekly ungraded skill surveys related to the basic concepts needed to understand that week’s material. For example, a skills survey on the chemistry of carboxylic acids and esters preceded the course unit on lipids. In addition to other factors, the impact of the skills survey on attendance of SI sessions was evaluated to determine how this type of feedback impacts student motivation to use supplemental learning resources.