Digital Mentoring via Emerging Technologies: A Case Study on Graduate Students

Digital Mentoring via Emerging Technologies: A Case Study on Graduate Students

Zeliha Seçkin, Alev Elçi, Onur Doğan
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8193-3.ch007
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The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digital transformation era and the evolution from mentoring to e-mentoring. One of the groups most affected by this situation is the mentees doing graduate studies. In this context, e-mentoring enables the mentee and mentor to carry out their academic study using digital technologies in mutual interaction, regardless of time and geographical space. This study is designed as a case study of the qualitative research methods where the study group consists of graduate students. Five main themes and 14 sub-themes are determined from the interviews with mentees on e-mentoring perceptions. According to the research findings, mentees prefer a two-stage approach in mentee-mentor matching. Mentees emphasize that they favor matching with emerging technologies at the first stage and finalizing the mentor selection process by mentee-mentor face-to-face negotiation in the second stage. Mentees also mention that besides some e-mentoring advantages, there are psycho-social benefits of face-to-face mentoring.
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Mentoring is not a new concept, its roots are as old as human history and it is accepted that mentoring has an important role in reaching today's level of development (Kuzu et al., 2012). Although the foundations of mentoring are based on ancient Greek mythology, traces of mentoring are frequently encountered in the Turkish cultural texture. In this context, lala (tutor) acted as mentors to şehzade (Ottoman prince), şeyh (sheikh) to their mürit (follower), usta (master) to çırak (apprentice), üstad (masters) to çömez (apprentice) (Alayoğlu, 2012; Karaferye, 2020; Yaw, 2007). According to the definition of Bozeman and Feeney (2008), mentoring is the social capital and psycho-social support process provided by the experienced and more knowledgeable person (mentor) to train the individual (mentee, protégé, and protégée) with less knowledge and experience.

A mentor is a role model that helps a mentee through teaching, guiding, and supporting to facilitate and improve their professional skills, abilities, behaviors, and careers (Kumar & Johnson, 2017; Yaw, 2007). Mentoring is a necessary and important approach for a more efficient learning environment. It enables students to keep their knowledge, skills, attitudes, and approaches aiming for up-to-date learning. Mentors have important positive effects in strengthening the weaknesses of the mentees in their learning process (Iqbal, 2020). Brill et al. (2014) identified effective faculty mentorship as a key factor causing doctoral student retention. Mullen (2007) stressed the impact of institutional policies for effective mentorship programs.

Digital transformation has rapidly widespread mentoring processes by evolving from traditional one-to-one mentoring to electronic mentoring, e-mentoring, or digital mentoring as used in this chapter (Yaw, 2007). Mentoring, in traditional or digital form, plays an important role in the graduate student's academic and career development. Moreover, in this context, mentoring is also crucial for personal development. This chapter will provide a background on mentoring and digital mentoring in universities and explore mentees' points of view on the mentoring process towards development of institutional strategies.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mentee: A mentee is someone who has a specific personal or professional goal and who needs guidance and support from a mentor to achieve that goal and is accountable to her/his mentor.

Digital Mentoring: Digital mentoring aims to utilize digital tools and technologies to enhance the development of a mutually beneficial relationship between mentee-mentor that facilitates new learning opportunities, career, and emotional support.

Psycho-Social: Composed of the word’s “psychology” and “social,” this definition expresses the life of a person affected by environmental factors and divided into various stages in terms of spirituality.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI refers to systems or machines that mimic human intelligence to perform tasks and can iteratively heal themselves based on the information they collect.

Mentor: A mentor is someone who has professional and life experience and agrees to help a mentee develop their skills, competencies, or personal and professional goals.

Digital Transformation: It is the integration of digital technologies into all areas of an institution to change the operations fundamentally embracing a cultural change.

Augmented Reality (AR): AR is a live direct or indirect view of a new perception environment created by combining computer-generated elements such as sound, video, graphics, or GPS data, augmented and animated with sensory input, with the physical, real-world environment.

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