Role of the Instructor in SSS

What are Structured Study Sessions (SSS)?

Find out more by reading the introduction.

What is the role of the instructor in the SSS program?

Before the start of term, we'll need your help in selecting good candidates to facilitate the Structured Study Sessions for your course, the SSS Coach. This academically-strong "model student" will have taken the course before, potentially in the previous academic year.

The SSS Coach will participate in Student Learning Services' Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) training program, and will take on the role of SSS Coach for your class.

During the term, the SSS Coach will occasionally ask you if they can make an announcement at the beginning of class. For example, if they are planning a particularly interesting study session that week (like a practice midterm), then they'll want to inform the class to encourage more than just "the regulars" to attend.

At the end of the term, we will ask you for a list of final marks for your course. The data will be used for research and program development only; individual student identities will not be revealed and student privacy will be protected. We will also ask for your assistance in sending out an invitation to the class to participate in an evaluation survey where students are asked for feedback on the study sessions.

How is the SSS Coach different from a Teaching Assistant?

The SSS Coach is responsible for attending your lectures and preparing study session material based on the material covered in class. The point of having the student re-attend lectures for this course is not for their own revision of the material, but rather to give them context in which to design the study session material as well as be able to jog students' memories, i.e. "Remember when the prof said such-and-such in class?"

The SSS Coach is *not* involved with grading or marking of student work. The SSS Coach is a Peer Mentor, and is a "friendly face" and is more approachable to students because of their separation from any evaluation.

The Structured Study Sessions

SSSs are held at regularly scheduled times throughout the week, usually 3h/week. The SSS Coach will discourage students from attending SSSs as a substitute for class.

About a week before the start of term, the SLS will take care of details such as coordinating SSS times that work with the SSS Coach's schedule, booking rooms, and providing photocopier access. The SSS Coach will also have regular office hours at the SLS when they can prepare study session material.

How do the student SSS Coaches benefit from this program?

SSS Coaches receive high-quality training in small-group facilitation, teaching techniques, active listening, and student support. These students have received orientation from other units on campus including the International Student Office, Student Counselling Services, Disability Student Services and USSU Pride Centre, making them more aware of diversity and thereby making them stronger leaders.

Which other courses have participated in this program?

Please check out our past participation page. :)

Contact us

If you are interested in piloting Structured Study Sessions in your course, please contact Gina Koehn (966-2738, This program is targetted at historically difficult large 100- and 200-level courses. With your interest and a good candidate or two in mind, the SLS will check with your department for approval to proceed with this program.

Student leaders will go through an application and interviewing process before being hired as SLS PAL Peer Mentors, and will attend training at the beginning of the term. Find out more on the student PAL application page.

The Structured Study Sessions program is based on the Supplemental Instruction model, developed at The Center for Academic Development, The University of Missouri-Kansas City.