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ERIC Number: EJ1108754
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-1556-3847
Informal Faculty Mentoring as a Component of Learning to Teach Online: An Exploratory Study
Thompson, Debbie
Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, v9 n3 Fall 2006
Distance education has become an important instructional method for institutes of higher learning over the last decade. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2003) , during the 2000-2001 academic year, 56 percent of all 2- and 4-year institutions offered distance education courses, and this represents an increase of approximately 34 percent over a three-year period. According to the report, ninety percent of all institutions that offered distance education courses used asynchronous Internet courses as their primary technology for instructional delivery. Faculty development programs have become essential to prepare faculty to teach in the online environment. Institutions often provide training for their faculty by way of faculty development. The purpose of this case study is to investigate and describe the informal faculty mentoring that occurs on university campuses to support online learning within the various university departments. Specific research questions included the following: (1) Does informal faculty mentoring occur within university departments when a formal faculty development program that supports online learning is not in place for the university?; (2) If faculty mentors within the university departments do provide informal support of online learning, how do their colleagues identify them? (3) What are the characteristics of the informal faculty mentors?; (4) What are the factors that motivate informal faculty mentors to work with colleagues in the area of online learning?; and (5) What can be done to provide support to the informal faculty mentors so that they will continue to mentor their colleagues in the area of online learning? Participants were faculty who were currently using an online component in their classes at a small Southeastern university, where no formal faculty development structure for online teaching was in place in order to determine whether informal mentoring was occurring. Interview methodology was used in this case study in order to get a deeper understanding of the interactions that occur between the informal mentor and the mentee. Informal mentoring usually occurs naturally between the mentor and mentee, without other entities becoming involved in the process.
State University of West Georgia. 1601 Maple Street, Honors House, Carrollton, GA 30118. Tel: 678-839-5489; Fax: 678-839-0636; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A