“We Overwhelm Them with Hope”: How Online Mentors Can Support Online Learners

Camey L. Andersen, Richard E. West


This survey research study analyzed responses from 143 mentors from around the world participating in a global higher education initiative. Results confirmed the effectiveness of four mentoring domains identified in the literature, reporting the most success from providing emotional and psychological support for students. This article provides mentoring strategies including student goal setting, identifies characteristics of an online role model, and shows the importance of online mentors’ confidence in students gaining technology skills. The study has additionally contributed to the literature supporting (a) benefits of online mentoring for nontraditional students, (b) influence of technology on mentoring challenges, and (c) role assumption in online mentoring. Additionally, the study provided a literature review of the background of online mentoring and mentoring practices, the benefits and challenges of online mentoring, and lessons learned from research. This work presents a comprehensive understanding of online mentoring, providing support for mentors seeking to improve their performance as well as recommendations for creating mentoring programs to improve organizations.


best practices, higher education, mentors, online education, social support, technology

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v25i4.2440

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