Shifting Gears in a Pandemic: The Impact of Online Academic Support for International and Domestic Students




academic support, international students, online, students of color, Supplemental Instruction


During a global pandemic, many students in 2020-2021 turned to peer-facilitated academic support through supplemental instruction (SI) to succeed. In this study, proficient students were hired as SI Leaders and trained to facilitate study sessions in a collaborative virtual learning environment. The impact of online SI support is assessed upon subgroups of 4,831 students enrolled in difficult courses at a four-year public university. Mean course GPAs and pass rates of international students, students of color, and white students with varying levels of SI session attendance were examined. One-way ANOVA and chi-square test results reveal significant differences by level of attendance for students of color and white students, with higher mean course GPAs and pass rates associated with higher levels of attendance at SI sessions for all three subgroups. These results are consistent with feedback from SI attendees and convey the significance of programs like SI, especially in times of crisis. 


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Author Biography

Laura Jacobi, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Laura Jacobi is an Associate Professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato in the Department of Communication Studies.  Teaching interests include courses in communication pedagogy and interpersonal communication.  Her research pursuits include instructional communication, interpersonal communication, and intercultural communication. 


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How to Cite

Jacobi, L. (2023). Shifting Gears in a Pandemic: The Impact of Online Academic Support for International and Domestic Students. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 15(2), 219–242.



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