Online Mentoring

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(Comment.gif: Question of clarity: This looks like an innovative and exciting research proposal! Just seeking clarity with reference to refining the motion, for example: -- Do we want Council to note the potential of the project, encourage participation from WikiEducators, offer feedback on the proposal? Many opportunities for a great project concept! --Wayne Mackintosh 02:08, 11 September 2009 (UTC)) (Comment.gif: You may wish to view the direction WE has been working on for teachers mentoring teachers. --Nellie Deutsch 18:23, 11 September 2009 (UTC))

(Comment.gif: Reply: Dear Wayne, thank you for your support. Yes, we wish the council to do the 3 thngs you mentioned above. If possible, it could be integrated into L4C follow-up on certain priority OER projects you/the Council might wish to see completed. That might be a way to accelerate the Teacher Mentoring Teacher attempts.--Gurmit 07:24, 12 September 2009 (UTC))

(Comment.gif: Hi Gurmit, this is a wonderful proposal. I kindly suggest you take note of the WE content suggested by Nellie. Since a workgroup has already done considerable work on this subject, i suggest you re-announce to the WE family for more contributions, develop a workgroup report and charter, and re-present to the Council for vote. Kindly take a note of the workgroup guidlines that will come out after the current meeting. It may sound like a tall order but i am very interested in how this goes. -- Wayne, apart from re-submittion at our next meeting, is it possible to highlight in the report/communique/minutes of this meeting a note that we encourgae such projects? How do we go about it?)


WikiEducators Investigate Online Mentoring as an approach for sustainable Professional Development

This collaborative Wikiresearch project brings together novice and experienced WikiEducators to investigate online mentoring as they develop open education resources (OERs).

Specific Aims

More specifically, this project aims to:

  1. Develop and analyze examples of online mentoring
  2. Create online mentoring dialogues among novice WikiEducators and their experienced mentors to sustain OER development
  3. Research the practices of a thriving WikiEducator collaborative community of educators, to produce new knowledge on OER and online professional development
  4. Advance the conceptual framework and methodological approaches that will inform the design of an online mentoring component into the current L4C model to sustain and improve the completion of OERs.


This research addresses two key issues facing the WikiEducator community - the success rate of OER projects, and the need for quality induction and renewal of online educators, novice and experienced. It builds on insights gained from practitioner inquiry into online mentoring between 2 Wikieducators, the novice Gurmit Singh, and the experienced, Randy Fisher, during their collaboration on the HIV AIDS portal for Community Media practitioners.

There is a considerable amount in the literature on (e)mentoring programs that provides a baseline:

  1. Reciprocal Mentoring for professional development of English teachers - the work of Kamler, B. and Comber, B. in South Australia (2004)
  2. Mentoring for induction of new teachers (Fairbanks et al 2000)
  3. Mentoring to enhance the professional development of new and experienced teachers - (Fairbanks et al 2000, Tauer 1998)
  4. Benefits of Peer Mentoring in corporations - Kram (1983, 1985), Allen et al (2006, 2004, 1997)
  5. Mentoring Online - (Brown & Thomson 1997, Ellis 2000, Lines 2000)
  6. Mentoring online about mentoring - (Sinclair 2003)
  7. Mentoring online for scientific writing - (Singh, 2011)

Online Mentoring for Professional Development: Literature Review

In recent years, the practice of online mentoring for professional development and distance graduate education has increased, whether for health professionals (Stewart & McLoughlin 2007), nurses (Melrose 2006), teachers (Brady and Schuck, 2005; Thomas, 2005), or librarians (Hines, 2007). In fact, the use of e-learning for inducting early career professionals has also expanded to professions such as scientists and engineers (Malchow, 2001), managers, and entrepreneurs (APESMA, 2003). All of these are examples of online mentoring programmes with dedicated resources and systematic programming. The inference from these studies is very clear: that effective online mentoring, which directly targets young and early career professionals, could improve the transitions of newcomers into productive professional practices.

Research Question

In light of this evidence from the literature, this research proposes to explore the concept and practices of online mentoring among WikiEducators so to provide some useful insights into the nexus between:

  1. Mentoring and Technology
  2. Mentoring and the induction of newcomers
  3. Mentoring and the completion rate of OERs

Significance and Innovation

This research directly addresses WikiEducator and OERF's strategy to create open and free educational resources, and for improving the quality of educators collaboration online. This reseach will:

  1. Make educators central to the project of researching their own professional development with the goal of improving the outcomes of their OER collaborative projects;
  2. Improve knowledge in the field by producing a highly distinctive account of the dynamics of online mentoring from the perspective of a diverse range of WikiEducators, novice and experienced;
  3. Develop online mentoring and research methodologies with implications for WikiEducators' professional development strategy through L4C;
  4. Forge closer links between the outcomes of online mentoring on L4C to complete OERs collaboratively and the work of educators in school systems, and
  5. Establish a credible evidence base from which to advocate for policy change to integrate online mentoring and OER development through L4C for sustainable professional development of their workforce among National Ministries of Education

Research Design

  1. Build a research community of approx. 20 WikiEducators - novice and experienced - across OER disciplines.
  2. These 20 are paired into 10 mentoring pairs (novices can choose who they wish to be mentored by, or can be from certain priority projects)

The research has 3 main phases over 3 years:

Phase I

Conduct mentor pair interviews

Phase II

Mentor Pairs develop an OER together, and co-research their work to develop case study, and to redesign an aspect of the OER that might improve the uptake of their OER by piloting it together (validity check)

Phase III

Data analysis to draw out lessons for other WikiEducators and to develop a concept, and deepen our understanding of the practice of online mentoring that can lead to successful completion of OERs, beyond L4C


4 online workshops to share, reflect and inquire about collaboration online, the practice of curriculum and materials development, the added-value of mentoring relationships - engage in critical reflection to produce new knowledge and understanding


This research will produce the following outcomes of significant benefit to WikiEducator, OERF, and the field of online teacher education:

  1. A corpus of data on online mentoring which addresses OER completion
  2. A dynamic Wikiresearch community with potential for future growth and activity, and the capacity to mentor others through L4C
  3. A publication: "Online Mentoring for Professional Development - WikiEducators share their experiences"
  4. A model for online professional development to market to governments and corporations
  5. Journal articles, conference presentations, policy briefs, and evidence for advocacy and outreach