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Structured Learning Assistance (SLA)person writing on the whiteboard

What is the Structured Learning Assistance program? 

Austin Peay State University is honored to have been a pioneer in the Structured Learning Assistance (SLA) program. SLA sections are supported with workshops and require students to meet 5 hours each week; 3 hours with their course instructor/professor and 2 hours in an SLA workshop lead by an SLA leader. For APSU students at Fort Campbell, students meet 5 hours weekly with their course instructor/professor and 4 hours weekly for SLA workshops led by SLA leaders.

Frequently Asked Questions

SLA-supported courses are designed to improve student success. These course sections include two categories: E-sections and S-sections.

  •  E-sections: SLA supported sections of core courses to help students remove academic deficiencies. E-sections of courses such as MATH 1010 and MATH 1530 have been designed for students who enter APSU without a strong algebra background from high school. (Formerly they would have been placed in developmental courses that did not give university-level credit and did not apply toward a degree.) The class portion of an E-section of a core course is the same as the other class sections for the course and meet for a total of 3 hours each week. However, students enrolled in E-sections of courses must also attend the SLA workshops two times each week. By enrolling in E-sections of core courses, students complete their core requirement and also satisfy the requirement to address academic deficiencies.
  • S-sections: SLA supported sections of historically challenging courses. Some courses that have historically been challenging to students now offer S-sections of the course. These S-sections provide the same course content in the class lectures, but they also provide SLA workshops one or two times each week to improve student success.

Courses with E-sections

  • MATH 1010
  • MATH 1530
  • MATH 1710
  • ENGL 1010

Courses with S-sections

  • BIOL 2010
  • BIOL 2020
  • MATH 1410
  • MATH 1910
  • PSYC 2010
  •  Students with an academic deficiency: Students with academic deficiencies are required to enroll in an SLA-supported E-section of the core course associated with their specific deficiency.
  •  Students taking a rigorous course: Students who are enrolling in courses which offer SLA-supported S-sections should consult with their advisor to determine whether the S-section of the course would be their best choice.
  • Increases opportunities for success: SLA supports course instruction with individualized instruction and group activities led by an SLA leader, which maximizes the opportunities for students to understand all course concepts and to achieve course objectives.
  • Reduces the tuition cost to students: Students no longer pay tuition for courses that do not apply toward graduation. They pay only the tuition for the core class.
  • For students with academic deficiencies: SLA-supported courses reduce the time spent in earning a degree. Students remove deficiencies and complete core course requirements at the same time by participating in 3 hours of lecture and in 2 hours of SLA workshop, each week, for one semester. Previously, students were required to take at least 3-6 hours of non-university level course work before enrolling in core Mathematics, History and English courses.
  • Student engagement with course concepts.
  • Instruction on learning styles and study skills that apply to the course.
  • SLA leader instruction and computer-based instruction on prerequisite competencies.
  • Instruction on test-taking strategies.
  • Test reviews.
  • The SLA Leader is the person responsible for conducting the labs that are linked to enhanced courses.
  • The SLA Leader has demonstrated academic success in the supported course and has been recommended by departmental faculty for this role.
  • The SLA Leader receives training each semester on how to conduct labs.
  • The SLA Leader attends each class meeting of the supported course and meets with the professor on a regular basis to discuss lab content.
Students, parents, and other institutions may contact the SLA Coordinator Tyler Buis, with other questions they may have about the SLA program. You may reach him at buist@apsu.edu