SPARK Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS SPARK?
Students Providing Alternative Resources for Knowledge
The focus of SPARK at GTCC is to improve student learning strategies and student success by utilizing the active and collaborative learning techniques and principles of supplemental instruction (SI).
- SPARK will provide students an opportunity to learn from and with their peers.
- SPARK is a proactive approach to learning in traditionally difficult courses.
- SPARK will promote community among GTCC learners.
- The SI sessions will be facilitated by SPARK Leaders.
- SPARK Leaders will assist students in developing effective learning strategies so that they may apply them in their current and future courses.
- SPARK Leaders will attend class lectures and hold group study sessions each week.
- SPARK Leaders will observe conference hours each week.
- SPARK Leaders will meet weekly with the instructor(s) of the course(s) for which supplemental instruction is being provided.
WHAT IS SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTION (SI)?
“Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an academic assistance program that utilizes peer-assisted study sessions. SI sessions are regularly-scheduled, informal review sessions in which students compare notes, discuss readings, develop organizational tools, and predict test items. Students learn how to integrate course content and study skills while working together” (University of Missouri-Kansas City).
WHO SHOULD ATTEND THE SPARK SI SESSIONS?
SPARK SI targets traditionally difficult courses, not at-risk or high risk-students. Therefore, the sessions are appropriate for everyone enrolled in the respective course(s) for which supplemental instruction is being provided.
WHAT ARE SPARK LEADERS?
SPARK Leaders facilitate study sessions. They are GTCC students, former GTCC students or students from area colleges or universities who have successfully completed the supplemental instruction (SI) course, having earned a final grade of “B” or better. SPARK Leaders attend all class lectures, take notes, hold office hours, attend weekly meetings and participate in group and individual course planning sessions each week. Additionally, the SPARK Leaders meet with the instructors of the respective course each week.
Spark Leader Qualification
- An overall GPA of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale) is required.
- A grade of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale) in the selected course; prior enrollment with the professor who is to teach the selected course is preferred.
- Demonstrates content-competency.
- Good interpersonal and communication skills.
- Availability to work at least 12-15 hours per week.
WHEN DO THE SPARK SI SESSIONS BEGIN?
The SPARK SI sessions begin the first week of each fall semester, spring semester, and summer session and will occur weekly until the last week of classes.