The purpose of this qualitative study, conducted at a nontraditional institution of higher education in upstate New York, was to determine important competencies of mentors of online adult undergraduate students. Following a survey of mentors and their students to determine purposeful sample, the researcher collected data via face-to-face and telephone interviews with 22 participants: 11 mentors and 11 mentees. The study identified competencies of the most successful mentors through use of the Behavioral Event Interview technique. In addition, the study identified the communication means used most often by these mentors as a combination of telephone and email. The primary competencies of effective mentors of adult online learners in this undergraduate program were identified as (a) a student-centered orientation, (b) a humanistic learning orientation, (c) creating a context conducive to adult learning, (d) grounding learning objectives in an analysis of students' needs, (e) facilitating the learning process, and (f) a constant presence in the student's school life. The first five of these competencies matched those found in a 1981 competency study of successful faculty mentors in nontraditional undergraduate programs for adults. The study discovered a new competency, maintaining a constant presence in the student's school life, an overarching behavior that included different indicators depending upon students' needs along the journey to graduation. An additional finding, not included in Schneider et al. (1981), was that successful mentors alternated between email and telephone modes of communication, as needed by students. The study includes recommendations for adult undergraduate administrators and for mentors of adult learners.
|School:||Union Institute and University|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/05, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Adult education, Educational technology, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Adult education, Adult learners, Behavioral Event Interview, Competency-based interview, Mentoring, Mentoring in education, Online, Online learning, Progressive education, Undergraduate|
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