R. Gentry

University of Mary Washington (UNITED STATES)
Electronic mentoring is defined as a relationship between a mentor and a mentee using computer mediated communication (CMC) that is intended to develop and improve menteeā€™s skills, confidence, and cultural understanding. In the past, emphasis has been placed on the importance of a face-to-face community of professionals in producing maximum career success (Wellington, 2001), but changes in career patterns have opened the door to alternative mentoring approaches. Given the millions of worldwide Internet users and the increasing reliance on technology for personal and professional connectivity, individuals are utilizing email and CMC for relationship development (Sproull & Kiesler, 1999). E-mentoring offers distinct advantages including flexibility whereby mentors and mentees can connect when needed, regardless of geographical location and time constraints, in a format that mimics and expands traditional face to face interaction and in a way that increases solutions while simultaneously reducing costs of implementation and access (Smith & Israel, 2010). Additionally, trained mentors can be drawn from a much larger pool than that typically available locally.

The online forum represents a complex learning environment in which collaboration is practiced in a technologically mediated environment and holds potential for new forms of collaborative work, study, and community that reduce barriers of time and distance (Kanuka & Anderson, 1998). This session will increase knowledge about electronic mentoring, its uses, and outcomes. This session will share the research behind electronic mentoring as well as descriptions of existing programs.