Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Video-Based Supplemental Instruction (VSI)

Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Video-Based Supplemental Instruction (VSI)

Article excerpt

At the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) as at other postsecondary institutions, practitioners have found that there are students for whom Supplemental Instruction (SI) and other more traditional support systems offer insufficient support. Data from several studies (Center for Supplemental Instruction, 2000; McGinty, 1990) suggest that these students typically fall within the lowest quartile on entry-level test scores (i.e., American College Test, Scholastic Aptitude Test) and/or high school class rank. Interviews with students and SI leaders reveal that SI fails to meet the needs of this subpopulation because the students lack both the skills and prerequisite content knowledge that would allow them to profit from SI. At-risk students may know the study skills that are needed for implementation, but they fail to utilize them in a timely and strategic fashion (Morrison, 1999). These students are handicapped, in addition, by their lack of experience in the academic milieu, a consequence of which is that they are late to seek assistance, often waiting until they have failed one or more examinations before asking for help (Martin & Blanc, 1981; Maxwell, 1990; Noel, Levitz, Saluri, & Associates, 1985; Tinto, 1993).

On other campuses, these students would typically be tracked into developmental courses. That option has never been available for UMKC. The Board of Curators of the University of Missouri (UM) legislated decades ago that developmental education courses could not be offered on any of the four campuses of the UM system. An alternative form of developmental education was then required to serve the students. This was the reason that SI was originally created. However, a more intense and sustained experience was needed for the least academically prepared students.

Description of VSI

To improve the retention of the at-risk student population, UMKC developed an alternative delivery system called Video-based Supplemental Instruction(c) or VSI(c) (Martin & Blanc, 1994). VSI is an interactive information delivery system that helps students master historically difficult core curriculum course content as they concurrently develop and refine reasoning and learning skills. In VSI courses, instructors record their lectures on video tape and enroll students in a video section of the same course that they teach live on campus. For students in the VSI section, a trained facilitator uses the taped lectures to regulate the flow of information to the learner. The lectures are stopped and started as needed, allowing the facilitator to verify that students have comprehended one idea before moving on to the next. Students develop essential reading, learning, and study skills concurrently as they master the academic content material and earn top grades in core curriculum subjects commonly taken during the first year of college.

For some students, mandatory placement and enrollment in VSI courses has become a condition of their readmission to the university after they have been dismissed due to low academic performance. Such students who petition for readmission are required to sign an academic contract that specifies specific actions that they will take to improve their chances for future academic success. Approximately 50 to 60 students annually since 1992 have elected to enroll in one or more VSI courses as part of their contract. Other students have received strong encouragement to participate from their advisors upon initial entry into the institution. Each year it is estimated that approximately half of first-time, full-time academically at-risk students enroll in VSI courses.

Although UMKC has selective admission standards based on standardized college entrance examinations and high school percentile rank, exceptions from the criteria are granted to 10% of new students. UMKC data (Center for Supplemental Instruction, 2000) reveal that in Fall 2000 about 65 first-time students not meeting admissions criteria due to academic risk factors were enrolled in one or more VSI courses. …

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