Utilizing Virtual Environments for the Creation and Management of an E-Mentoring Initiative

Utilizing Virtual Environments for the Creation and Management of an E-Mentoring Initiative

Pamela M. Golubski (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-791-3.ch006
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Abstract

Adjusting to college is difficult regardless if the student is entering higher education immediately after graduating from high school, returning as a re-admit, or an adult entering college after an extended period of time working or raising a family. While colleges offer numerous specialized student support services from tutoring to psychological counseling, most individuals would benefit from added guidance, support, and empowerment from a mentor. While traditional (face-to-face) mentoring is an excellent option, it requires that specific financial, time, schedule, and geographic elements be met. Therefore, an e-mentor initiative might be a viable solution, where all communication interaction is conducted through virtual and Web 2.0 technologies such as Facebook, Instant Message (IM), Skype, Google Groups, Virtual Common Reading Program, and Virtual Reflection Journals.
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History Perspective Of Mentoring

Mentoring has been a viable activity that dates back to early works of literacy and Greek mythology. A mentor was defined as a trusted friend, counselor, or wise teacher (Fénelon, 1699). For example in the mythological story about King Odysseus, who appointed Mentor (friend and counselor to the king) to serve as a teacher, advisor, and friend to the king’s son Telemachus (Adams & Scott, 1997). Odysseus intentionally wanted to ensure that someone would be able to provide his son with the skills necessary to ensure he would be competent as the successor of the kingdom (Anderson & Shannon, 1988). Mentor was responsible for all aspects of his son’s growth including physical, intellectual, spiritual, social, and administrative development (Crow & Matthews, 1998). As in the story of Telemachus, in ancient Greece it was customary for young males to be matched to a more experienced male in an effort to ensure he learned about being successful in the culture and society in which he belonged. Mentoring has continued to exist and flourish in much of the same format as it did in the early days.

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