Free
Poster Session
Issue Date: August 2016
Published Online: August 01, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
Faculty Mentors’ Perspectives on E-Mentoring Postprofessional Occupational Therapy Doctoral Students
Author Affiliations
  • Boston University
  • Boston University
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Health Services Research and Education
Poster Session   |   August 01, 2016
Faculty Mentors’ Perspectives on E-Mentoring Postprofessional Occupational Therapy Doctoral Students
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011510195. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO2032
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011510195. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO2032
Abstract

Date Presented 4/7/2016

This study investigated faculty members’ perspectives on e-mentoring in an online postprofessional doctor of occupational therapy program. Results highlight how successful e-mentoring relationships are built and how they positively affect the professional behaviors and development of students and faculty.

Primary Author and Speaker: Nancy Doyle

Additional Authors and Speakers: Karen Jacobs, Cathryn Ryan

PURPOSE: To investigate from the faculty perspective the nature, perception, and impact of faculty-to-student e-mentoring in an online postprofessional doctor of occupational therapy (OTD) program
BACKGROUND: E-mentoring is a particularly viable option for mentoring students engaged in online graduate degree programs. As online education continues to grow universally and in occupational therapy and other health professions, it is critical to provide evidence-based and quality educational experiences (Bondoc, 2005; Doyle & Jacobs, 2012; Richardson, MacRae, Schwartz, Bankston, & Kosten, 2008). E-mentoring, or mentoring that occurs utilizing web-based electronic communication methods, is a powerful tool that can contribute to the overall learning experiences of students.
This paper addresses current gaps in the literature about faculty perspectives of what features make e-mentoring most successful and satisfactory and the impact of e-mentoring (e.g., professional behaviors and development) on students and faculty.
PARTICIPANTS: The participants included all 9 faculty from the Boston University Sargent College online postprofessional OTD program who discussed the 48 faculty-to-student e-mentoring experiences to date in the program (100% participation). The institutional review board approved the study procedures and the letter of consent presented to participants.
DESIGN: This retrospective study used a descriptive, quantitative design.
METHOD: Faculty mentors completed an online survey and an interview conducted via a web-conferencing platform. Questions were developed on the basis of research findings (de Janasz & Godshalk, 2013; Eby et al., 2013).
ANALYSIS: Answers to each survey question were analyzed for descriptive statistics such as percentage of e-mentoring dyads. Interview recordings were transcribed using a word processing program and reviewed for important and common themes, and illustrative quotations for each theme were identified.
RESULTS: Study results describe quality, successful, and satisfactory e-mentoring experiences that focus on the learning needs and process of mentees, have clear and open communication, and continue to develop the mentoring relationship over time. Faculty mentors agreed that the e-mentoring had a positive impact on the professional behaviors of students in areas such as research, publications, professional roles and responsibilities, and seeking out other or continued mentoring. Interestingly, the majority of faculty mentors also felt the e-mentoring had a positive impact on their own professional development, particularly in the areas of honing mentoring skills and continuing education (i.e., adding to their own content knowledge on a variety of doctoral project topics).
DISCUSSION: E-mentoring positively affected the professional behaviors and development of students and faculty in the online postprofessional OTD program. Quality e-mentoring is achieved by being student centered and flexible with open communication for the duration of the mentoring relationship.
IMPACT STATEMENT: As online education continues to grow, a better understanding of e-mentoring will assist in providing exemplary education to meet the needs of adult learners. The study highlights how successful e-mentoring relationships are built and maintained and how they positively affect the professional behaviors and development of students and faculty.
References
Bondoc, S. (2005). Occupational therapy and evidence-based education. Education Special Interest Section Quarterly, 15(4), 1–4.
de Janasz, S. C., & Godshalk, V. M. (2013). The role of e-mentoring in protégés’ learning and satisfaction. Group and Organization Management, 38, 743–774. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1059601113511296
Doyle, N., & Jacobs, K. (2012). Learning locally and globally: An overview of distance education in occupational therapy. Israeli Journal of Occupational Therapy, 21, E59–E69.
Eby, L. T. T., Allen, T. D., Hoffman, B. J., Baranik, L. E., Sauer, J. B., Baldwin, S., . . . Evans, S. C. (2013). An interdisciplinary meta-analysis of the potential antecedents, correlates, and consequences of protégé perceptions of mentoring. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 441–476. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0029279
Richardson, P. K., MacRae, A., Schwartz, K., Bankston, L., & Kosten, C. (2008). Student outcomes in a postprofessional online master’s-degree program. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62, 600–610. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.62.5.600