Supplemental Instruction (SI) was introduced in 1973 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, as a peer-facilitated model of academic support for historically difficult courses (Burmeister, 1996). The model is used by hundreds of thousands of students annually (Martin, 2009), with substantial evidence that it increases student grades and decreases the likelihood of withdrawal (Dawson et al., 2014).
We offered face-to-face and online SI under the name Peer Assisted Learning Sessions (PALS) in four courses, over three semesters, at the University of Windsor. Feedback from students and the instructor, coupled with course data, expert advice, and expanded resources helped us iteratively refine our approaches to both the sessions and program marketing (i.e., attendance management). Preliminary findings suggest similar benefits to students regardless of the session format, and potentially greater benefits for international students. This session will review the first four offerings of our PALS program in Economics, Statistics, and Chemistry, highlighting core findings and emphasizing a new online approach to facilitating such sessions. Discussion will surround the student experience for both leaders and participants, the potential for wider PALS integration at the University of Windsor, and take a critical look at the online facilitation approach.