Strategies for MentoringOnline Doctoral Studentsthrough theDissertation ProcessMelissa L. Johnson, Ph.D.Swapna Kumar, Ed.D.Truly HardemonUniversity of Florida, USA
Objectives / PurposeIn what ways can asupervisor-student mentoringrelationship be successfullysupported in an onlineenvironment?
Literature• Mentoring relationships between student and graduateadvisor (Ives & Rowley, 2005; Lee, 2008; Maher, Ford,Thompson, 2004; Smith, 1995)• Helping to become a credentialed scholar (Burnett, 1999;Gaffney, 1995; Johnson, Lee, & Green, 2000; Lyons,Scroggins, & Rule, 1990; Rose, 2005)• E-mentoring (Bierema & Merriam, 2002; Griffiths &Miller, 2005; Mueller, 2004; Schichtel, 2010; Warner &Witzel, 2004)
Methodology• Participants: 6 graduates from first cohortof online doctoral program• Data collection: Semi-structured interview,phone• Data analysis: Inductive (Hatch, 2002)
ResultsEmerging themes:• The online environment and mentoring• Strategies used by mentors that helped students• Challenges faced by students• Strategies used by students termed best practice
ResultsThe online environment and mentoring• Value of using multiple media sources• 4/6 participants met with mentor for F2F discussion• Synchronous communication tools for discussion• Asynchronous communication tools for feedback
ResultsStrategies used by mentors that helped students• Participants appreciated structure, timelyfeedback, and the establishment of timelines forfeedback• Types of feedback = encouragement, specific /candid feedback, additional resources, posingquestions
ResultsChallenges faced by students• Time management, work-life balance, motivationto continue writing, research implementationproblems• Handling / acting on feedback• Low peer support
ResultsStrategies used by students termed best practice• Establish open and consistent communicationwith mentor• Ask questions and find medium ofcommunication that is helpful• Establish deadlines with mentor
Discussion / Implications• Clear communication, honest feedback -> perceptions ofideal mentor (Rose, 2003)• Multiple modes of communication in mentoring(Schichtel, 2000)• Students prefer faculty to initiate structure / supervisetransition (Johnson, Lee, & Green, 2000)• Improved strategies need to be found to provide feedbackin online environment
Future Research / Practice• Continue interviews with students in first cohortas they graduate from program• Use strategies to advise second and third cohortthrough the dissertation process• Interview faculty members re: their perspectivesof mentoring from a distance
References• Bierema, L.L. & Merrian, S.B. (2002). E-mentoring: Using computer mediated communication to enhancethe mentoring process. Innovative Higher Education, 26(3), 211-227.• Burnett, P.C. (1999). The supervision of doctoral dissertations using a collaborative cohort model.Counselor Education and Supervision, 39(1), 46-52.• Gaffney, N. (Ed.). (1995). A conversation about mentoring: Trends and models. Council of GraduateSchools, Washington, D.C.• Griffiths, M.D. & Miller, H.M. (2005). E-mentoring in schools: A brief review. Education and Health, 23,6-8.• Hatch, J.A. (2002). Doing qualitative research in education settings. Albany, NY: State University of NewYork Press.• Ives, G. & Rowley, G. (2005). Supervisor selection or allocation and continuity of supervision: Ph.D.students progress and outcomes. Studies in Higher Education, 30, 535-555.• Johnson, L., Lee, A., & Green, B. (2000). The Ph.D. and the Autonomous Self: Gender, rationality, andpostgraduate pedagogy. Studies in Higher Education, 25(2), 135-147.• Lee, A. (2008). How are doctoral students supervised? Concepts of doctoral research supervision. Studiesin Higher Education, 33(3), 267-281.• Lyons, W., Scroggins, D., & Rule, P.B. (1990). The mentor in graduate education. Studies in HigherEducation, 15(3), 277-285.• Mueller, S. (2004). Electronic mentoring as an example for the information and communicationstechnology in engineering education. European Journal of Engineering Education, 29(1), 53-63.• Rose, G.L. (2003). Enhancement of mentor selection using the ideal mentor scale. Research in HigherEducation, 44(4), 473-494.• Schichtel, M. (2010). Core-competence skills in e-mentoring for medical educators: A conceptualexploration. Medical Teacher, 32(7), e248-e262.• Warner, M. & Witzel, M. (2004). Managing in virtual organizations. London: Thomson Learning.
ContactMelissa L. Johnson, Ph.D.firstname.lastname@example.org(352) 392-1519
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