Implementation of an Online Distance Mentoring System

Implementation of an Online Distance Mentoring System

Vassilis Syrris (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Fenia Tsobanopoulou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-876-5.ch006
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Abstract

The individualized mentoring is a process unexploited and problematic in Greece because of its high operational cost and the lack of specialized scientists. In general practice though, it is considered as the most effective means in order to support a person and guide him/her at the crucial and important decisions of his/her life. More than ever, through the immense technological advancements, online distance mentoring has evolved as a clearly anthropocentric method, having that is, as center of its interest, the person and his/her personal needs as opposed to the mere execution of a predetermined training program. The present study explores and analyses the issues related to electronic distance mentoring of young persons in the framework of professional orientation, business spirit development, personal training and psychological support. The particularity of this project stems from the application of advanced videoconference systems that eliminated the need for people transfer, bridged geographical distances, improved interaction considerably and reduced the response time of intervention.
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Background

The educational system of a country co-operates with and is co-formulated by the social, political, technological and economic system, affecting the quality and the level of life of each citizen. A school unit, as the structural module of most educational systems, constitutes the field of expression of fundamental educational policy; moreover, it represents the primary receiver of the tendencies, the target of the priorities and the mirror of the contemporary needs reflected by societies.

In this theoretical framework, if someone attempts to determine the role of contemporary school, s/he is forced to deal with subjects such as: What is the role of a school operating within a rapidly changing environment that is affected by global economy? To what extent does it collaborate with social structures or run in a parallel mode or away from the social body evolution? Is school effective? (and what could this mean?) Which would be the criteria employed in order to measure the quality of the educational services?

Regarding the institutional role of school as one forming active and sophisticated citizens, one needs to presuppose an educational reality where school, adopting an attentive attitude, is capable of absorbing and feeling the needs of its surrounding environment, and mainly, those expressed by/in the neighborhood itself; this information must be analyzed, transformed and instilled to knowledge which could aid the timely response of the educational unit towards its adaptation to general educational policy. In simple words, contemporary school has to be open to the society, able to connect the knowledge with its applications, to handle technology as a necessary tool of everyday practice, to facilitate cooperation, group thinking and communication, factors that contribute to successful human co-existence and development.

The present case study describes the action of an urban Greek high-school willing to approach the Greek periphery, thus making an extroverted step in order to meet local communities and transfer pieces of valuable expertise. Its philosophy, that changes result primarily from proper use of human capital and that constant specialized training and personal growth are key notions in education, led to the designing and implementation on behalf of the school, of an electronic distance mentoring system, suitable for young people residing in the rural area. Our involvement in this project as coordinators provided us with certain experience, the parameters of which, the problems encountered and the benefits acquired, we expose in the following sections.

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