Theoretical Basis of the Program

Academic Support Program differs considerably from conventional support programs in terms of its structure, aims and modes of function (Arikan, 2007; Gogus & Arikan, 2008). Nevertheless, by viewing the program as a socially situated activity system and conceptualizing it within the framework of activity theory based on Vygostky’s cultural-historical psychology, it is possible to explain how the program works (Leont’ev, 1978; Vygotsky, 1978; Engeström, 1987). Taking peer influence and the effectiveness of peer instruction into account, the program captures the basis for various “active learning” methods (Topping, 1996). The structure and functioning of the program are distinctively centralized around and structured by the principle of “learning to learn” (Arikan, 2007).

The design of the program is unique in terms of its administrative and organizational structure. Aiming to enable internalization of the culture of learning and sustaining a healthy academic environment, the unit offers programs with active participation of students and exclusively assigns responsibility to students in the unit’s administrative organs. The program is subject to systematic evaluation and analysis for perfection as well as the attainment of dynamism, enabling its adaptation to Sabanci University’s strategic planning. Continuous follow-up of events, comparative analysis of participants’ academic achievement, and questionnaire based opinion pool formations are integrated parts of the programs.


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Engeström, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding: An activity-theoretical approach to developmental research. Helsinki: Oriento-Konsultit.

Gogus, A. and Arikan, H. (2008).Learning to learn in Higher Education. IADIS International Conference on Cognition and Exploratory Learning in Digital Age (CELDA 2008), Conference Proceedings ISBN: 978-972-8924-69-0, pp. 278-284, Oct. 13-15, 2008-Freiburg, Germany.

Leont’ev, A.N. (1978). Activity, Consciousness, and Personality. (Marie J. Hall, trans.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

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