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Mentoring Manual

Virtual mentoring

See this eLearn magazine's list of online mentoring technologies.

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MentorNet provides resources, training and an e-mentoring network to promote virtual mentoring at all levels in engineering and science. This case study gives an introduction and overview.

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Mentor while traveling

A traveling mentor is one of the main complaints from students in field placements. These students want the time and attention from a professional with the accomplishments of a faculty member. Traveling, however, does not need to be a problem. If you can establish sufficient support for the student, establish a strong mentoring relationship before traveling, and remain in contact through electronic means to provide mentoring, then the problems created by your absence can be substantially reduced. Remember, providing sufficient support for the students to accomplish the planned research is a minimum requirement, but not mentoring. Mentoring is the time and attention that you provide the student to assist with their intellectual and professional development. Consider not traveling at the beginning of the placement. This can be a critical time for the mentoring relationship. Significant face-to-face time during this initial period is critical. After the first 2-3 weeks, then your physical absence can be partially replaced with electronic presence. All the comments below, assume that you have established a mentoring relationship before traveling. Here are some ideas for communicating when you travel:

  • Request a weekly document providing updates on the research progress. Make this consistent with what you ask for when you are not traveling.
  • Request that the student send any exciting results or insights as soon as possible. Do not let them wait to engage you in results that they consider important.

Establish an electronic communication means – e-mail, text, facebook. Communicate ahead of time, the frequency that you will check for their communication

  • Make it clear if and when they can call you on your cell phone. If something will take extensive discussion, state that and defer the discussion until you have returned.

If you have a graduate student serving as a mentor for the student, set up a similar communication system and expectation with the graduate student regarding the mentoring. NOTE – you can have this communication with the graduate student focus on just the mentoring since you would expect the graduate students to make progress on their own research without contact with you during your travels.

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Use of social networking tools for mentoring

* Additional content is in process

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