Peer Mentoring-a pilot study to compare the viability of two virtual environments for student support

Joanne Smailes, David Hart, Julie Crumbley

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Support systems are vital for new students at university and one of the established means of support on offer at many universities is peer mentoring which, through a community of practice, has the potential to aid student retention and increase student engagement. Peer mentoring models are generally based on face-to-face contact. However, given the increasing number of higher education institutions using various social media and some of the practical problems concerned with face to face mentoring meetings, might online models be beneficial in a peer mentoring context? Newcastle Business School in 2010/2011 will be piloting two potential virtual models based on new technologies to create a community of practice which aims to improve and extend the transition, induction and learning experience of students on Business and Management Programmes. It is anticipated that this proactive approach will also install a sense of programme identity through social interaction across year cohorts, with newly enrolled students in particular benefiting from the experiences of more experienced course colleagues. The two models examined are the virtual learning environment (VLE) and social networking site Facebook. The VLE is established in higher education but lacks excitement. In addition technical restrictions mean access is only available post enrolment. Social networking sites like Facebook are freely available, popular and heavily used particularly by younger students but literature suggest there may be resentment if this appears to be appropriated by the HEI. This paper will report on the research findings which led to the choice of models as wells as outline the pilot project in more depth.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventNorthumbria Conference 2010 - Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne
Duration: 9 Sept 2010 → …


ConferenceNorthumbria Conference 2010
Period9/09/10 → …
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