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June 4, 2019

Online University Experience

Mentoring matters regardless of distance.

The challenges to traditional mentoring models within an online setting.

Mentor at a coffeeshop

Mentorship is crucial for success—and not just in the workplace. Although mentoring has been happening at the educational level for a while, it may not have been under that moniker. The Elon University Poll, reported by Washington’s Top News, showed that “graduates who had seven to 10 significant relationships with faculty and staff were more than three times as likely to report their college experience as ‘very rewarding’ than those with no such relationships.” 

These teachers and staff members were mentoring perhaps without realizing it, and the success showed.

However, what if an in-person mentorship relationship is not possible? Especially for working adults who may already be within their desired industries—time and location are incredibly important factors. While in-person mentoring opportunities are not always conducive with busy schedules, research has shown that technology-assisted mentoring is equally effective. 

“From the studies we have conducted, mentors and protégés who work at a distance experience the same level of satisfaction with their mentoring as those who meet face-to-face,” according to Leadership Effect

“Mentorship is vital to student and graduate success. WGU Nevada recognized that fact early on in the development of the university and ensured mentorship was not only suggested, but part of the education. Mentorship should be convenient and achievable, and WGU Nevada offers just that.”

- Chancellor Spencer Stewart of WGU Nevada

The findings from Leadership Effect are crucial to the mentorship conversation. At the end of the day, a student’s success should not be hindered by geography, but educators were concerned the results would not be the same. Would a student feel the same level of support from mentor cities, or even states, as they would with a mentor locally? The results support that location doesn’t matter as long as the student feels supported.

“Mentorship is vital to student and graduate success,” said Chancellor Spencer Stewart of WGU Nevada. “WGU Nevada recognized that fact early on in the development of the university and ensured mentorship was not only suggested, but part of the education. Mentorship should be convenient and achievable, and WGU Nevada offers just that.”

At WGU Nevada, students primarily interact with three types of faculty: Program Mentors, Course Instructors, and Evaluators. Mentors and Instructors interface with students by phone or by web to provide tailored instruction and support in their areas of experience, while Evaluators provide feedback and perspective on student assessments. The online student is not alone, and will receive support, guidance, and mentorship all along the way to achieve a high-level of workforce success for students. When students graduate, they should feel work ready. 

To read more from the Workforce Changes Blog Series, follow the links to read the other blogs:

Blog 1: How Does Education Change to Fit the New Workforce?

Blog 2: Competency-Based Education Finds its Heyday

Blog 3: Small Businesses Need Qualified Employees

Blog 4: Education Reshaped: What Does Alternative Education Mean for Students?

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