Michigan Virtual recently released a guide for mentors of online learning students, “Mentor Fundamentals: A Guide for Mentoring Online Learners,” that is intended to provide an understanding of the fundamental elements of mentoring or coaching students for success with online courses.
Mentors are critical partners in ensuring student success in navigating the virtual learning journey. The mentor, student, parent and online instructor form a team to help students become proficient online learners and successfully complete their courses.
“Achieving success as an online learner has become an important part of being college and career ready for all secondary students in Michigan,” Jamey Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of Michigan Virtual, said. “’Mentor Fundamentals’ is a free resource for school personnel to help them better support students enrolled in online courses available from the Michigan Virtual® or any online course provider.”
The guide was prepared with the assistance and insight of experienced mentors, instructors, administrators, and customer service representatives from Michigan Virtual. It describes the roles and responsibilities of the mentor and contains tools to prepare mentors for working with online learners.
The guide’s resources include defining the characteristics of a good mentor, mentor best practices and an Online Learner Readiness Rubric. The rubric can be used by mentors as a resource to help identify specific areas where students may need additional support to better ensure success in online learning.
Additional information includes sections on Expanded Online Learning Options, Mentor Fundamentals and Research on Mentoring in Schools. The research section was authored by Dr. Jered Borup, assistant professor in the Division of Learning Technologies at George Mason University and a fellow at the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute™.
According to Dr. Borup, although current research is limited, the emerging research indicates that mentors can improve course outcomes. For instance, one study examined 2,880 survey responses and found that online students who worked in a mentor-monitored classroom were nearly twice as likely to pass the course as those who did not.
About Michigan Virtual
Michigan Virtual® is a private, nonprofit Michigan corporation established by the State of Michigan in 1998 to serve as a champion for online learning. It is the parent organization of the Michigan Virtual®, Michigan LearnPort®, and Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute™. Visit www.mivu.org for more information.