A Framework for E-Mentoring in Doctoral Education

A Framework for E-Mentoring in Doctoral Education

Swapna Kumar (University of Florida, USA), Melissa L. Johnson (University of Florida, USA), Nihan Dogan (University of Florida, USA) and Catherine Coe (University of Florida, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7065-3.ch009


The upward trend in online graduate degrees, the mobility of graduate students, and the increase in the number of dissertations completed at a distance from universities poses several challenges for faculty who supervise research virtually, students being mentored virtually, and institutions invested in the quality of doctoral education. At the same time, emerging communication technologies present new opportunities for mentoring approaches that build upon those used in traditional on-campus environments. Based on qualitative research with 29 graduates who completed their dissertations at a distance, this chapter presents a framework for the e-mentoring of research and dissertations that encompasses strategies and support at the institutional, mentor, small group, and mentee levels.
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Doctoral education scholars have used terms such as “supervision”, “advising”, and “mentoring” (Lyons, Scroggins & Bonham-Rule, 1990) to refer to interactions between a supervisor and doctoral student. Advising has alluded to more of a managerial and support role, and supervising has been the preferred term in the literature about educating, supporting, and managing the process of dissertation research (Kadushin, 1976; Winston & Polkosnik, 1984). In our research, we adopted the term mentoring that includes advising, supervising, mentor as well as mentee growth, and is learner-centered (Zachary, 2002). Educational development, professional development, and psychosocial development are the focus of doctoral mentoring processes, and much of the research emphasizes the importance of the mentoring relationship to the completion of doctoral dissertations (Boud & Lee, 2009; Burnett, 1999; Crisp & Cruz, 2009; Golde, 2007; Hayes & Koro-Ljungberg, 2011; Ives & Rowley, 2005). Strategies used by dissertation mentors in the areas of feedback, pedagogy, research experiences, psychosocial support, and career development have been studied in doctoral education (Heath, 2002; Rose, 2003; Manathunga, 2007; Wisker, 2015), as have models of peer support such as cohorts and research teams (Boud & Lee, 2005; Burnett, 1999; Carr, Galvin, & Todres, 2010; Robertson, 2017).

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