About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5651-5660
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.2351

Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain

A CAMPUS-WIDE PEER MENTORING SYSTEM WITH WELLNESS-BASED FACE-TO-FACE MENTORING SESSIONS, PERSONALIZED AND GAMIFIED DEVELOPMENTAL WELLNESS WEBSITES FOR MEMBERS, AND A SOPHISTICATED TRACKING SYSTEM

A. Du Plessis

Stellenbosch University (SOUTH AFRICA)
An already existing campus-wide peer mentoring system was expanded over the last four years with new wellness-based face-to-face mentoring sessions, personalized and gamified developmental wellness websites for each mentor and mentee, and a sophisticated tracking and management information system. BeWell, as the system is known as, is most probably one of the largest out-of-the-class first-year interventions in the world. Since its inception in 2013 more than 2000 mentors have assisted more than 14 000 first-year students in the program.

In 2015, for example, 577 trained mentors guided 3881 first-year students during their first six to nine months at the university. The mentors were senior students who underwent intensive training. The mentees were first-year students and were part of 488 mentoring groups, staying in 41 residences and private wards. The average size of the mentoring groups was 7.95, the average attendance rate of mentoring sessions was 71% and 6655 mentoring sessions were conducted by mentors.

A developmental approach to student success that focuses on the optimisation of the potential of all students is followed - a holistic and systemic approach that concentrates on developing the whole person instead of only addressing problem areas. Six wellness cards with definitions, guiding questions and activities are used by mentors during 10-12 one hour sessions with their mentees to facilitate growth and positive discussions. All activities are tracked and recorded.

All mentors and mentees are supported by their own individualized and secure wellness websites with assessments, ebooks, audiobooks, e-workshops, tracking tools for card sessions, journals, profile pages and personalized leaderboards. Online well-being enhancing activities currently include e-workshops on wellness, grit and growth mindsets, and a gratitude and happiness journal. Future additions will include blended workshops on evidence-based positive psychological factors that affect academic achievement.

Gamification principles are also integrated within the individualized wellness websites of students to enhance engagement, competition (who can outperform others in terms of mentoring support and wellness development) and motivation.

All activities within the BeWell system are tracked via mobile-friendly forms: Mentoring sessions as well as all other wellness enhancing activities. The BeWell Management Information System incorporates all the tracking data within easy-to-use management information websites - one for the system as a whole and separate ones for each living environment.

In evaluating the impact of interventions such as BeWell one must measure, or at least try to describe, the impact on the academic performance of participants, the overall experience of participants and the personal development of participants.

Results indicates that high logging mentors perform better academically than low loggers, engaged mentees outperform the rest, wellness card sessions had an impressive positive effect on the academic performance of mentees, residences that made the most progress academically were also the most engaged in BeWell, and the overall average experience ratings for both mentors and mentees are high – above 80%.

Finally, an analysis of more than 3000 reflections that were submitted by mentors since 2013 indicates that mentors are equipped with a wide range of wellness skills during their terms as mentors.
@InProceedings{DUPLESSIS2016ACA,
author = {Du Plessis, A.},
title = {A CAMPUS-WIDE PEER MENTORING SYSTEM WITH WELLNESS-BASED FACE-TO-FACE MENTORING SESSIONS, PERSONALIZED AND GAMIFIED DEVELOPMENTAL WELLNESS WEBSITES FOR MEMBERS, AND A SOPHISTICATED TRACKING SYSTEM},
series = {8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN16 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-8860-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2016.2351},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2016.2351},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {5651-5660}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Du Plessis
TI - A CAMPUS-WIDE PEER MENTORING SYSTEM WITH WELLNESS-BASED FACE-TO-FACE MENTORING SESSIONS, PERSONALIZED AND GAMIFIED DEVELOPMENTAL WELLNESS WEBSITES FOR MEMBERS, AND A SOPHISTICATED TRACKING SYSTEM
SN - 978-84-608-8860-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2016.2351
PY - 2016
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2016
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN16 Proceedings
SP - 5651
EP - 5660
ER -
A. Du Plessis (2016) A CAMPUS-WIDE PEER MENTORING SYSTEM WITH WELLNESS-BASED FACE-TO-FACE MENTORING SESSIONS, PERSONALIZED AND GAMIFIED DEVELOPMENTAL WELLNESS WEBSITES FOR MEMBERS, AND A SOPHISTICATED TRACKING SYSTEM, EDULEARN16 Proceedings, pp. 5651-5660.
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