Virtual mentor: An innovation in student support

Joanne Smailes, Pat Gannon-Leary, Christopher Laing, Lynne Conniss

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Peer mentoring is well established means of support for first year students (Farrell et al. 2004, Green, 2007) which increases student retention and engagement at a relatively low cost (Boud et al, 2001; Hodges and White, 2001). Many of the existing peer mentoring models are based on face-to-face contact between more experienced students acting as mentors and first year students as the mentees. However, research conducted by Northumbria University indicated that although the principles of peer mentoring were welcomed by students they felt access to a mentee was only required sporadically. However, accessing the University's Virtual Learning Environment is a daily activity (Gannon-Leary and McDowell, 2003). Social Networking Sites such as Facebook are now a global phenomenon (Bausch and Han, 2006) and their role within the students'learning experiences is becoming of increasing interest (Licaardi et al., 2007). Therefore, this paper firstly explores the potential for virtual learning environments or social networking sites to complement or replace the existing face-to face models of peer mentoring and secondly, discusses the factors which may inhibit the introduction of virtual peer mentoring.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2008
EventMaking Connections Conference 2008 - London
Duration: 6 Nov 2008 → …


ConferenceMaking Connections Conference 2008
Period6/11/08 → …


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