Support systems are vital for university entrants and one established means of support is peer mentoring which has the potential to improve student engagement and retention. Mentoring models are generally based on face-to-face contact. However, given the increasing number of higher education institutions using social media, might online models be beneficial in a support context? This paper by means of examining extant literature complemented by a case study considered three virtual models: social networking sites (SNS), virtual learning environments (VLE) and virtual worlds. Findings indicated that the social networking model had the most potential. A pilot study by business programmes at Northumbria University is now being undertaken. Technical issues have been encountered and overcome. However, further analysis is required to fully establish the long term viability and potential extensions to the model.
|Title of host publication
|Proceedings of the 6th Iberian Conference on Information Systems and Technologies
|Place of Publication
|Published - 4 Aug 2011