Continuing our blog series, "Education and Technology - Relationship Status," let's talk about mentors teaching and how they can use technology to create a mentoring program and reach a larger audience. An audience in which demographics do not limit rather lends itself to diverse accessibility.
In our previous blog post, Impact of Technology on Faculty Teaching – we evaluated what skill set and training resources faculty should have who want to teach eLearning courses. Some people may think that teaching is teaching no matter who is doing it. However, there are several differences that are worth exploring.
There are so many tools found on the web to facilitate meetups, document sharing, and accountability. In this post, we will cover how to start a mentoring program, evaluate appropriate candidates (both mentors and mentees), and explore some tech tools to bring it all together. It has never been easier to contribute to the growth of other people either younger than you or those with less experience. All it takes is a true commitment on both sides to make it happen.
Over the past few months, we have been researching mentorships. A great resource to check out is Mentoring.org. As an educational technology company, having a mentor program is a perfect fit with our team of committed lifelong learners. It is a way we can give back and practice what we preach about education making life better.
The two most critical elements which need the most attention for a successful mentorship are time commitment and clear expectations. Outside of those two things, the rest is just logistics, choosing the right people, getting a plan, and picking the tools to help facilitate the program. To get you started, we are sharing our plan below. Perhaps you can modify what we are doing to better suit your needs. In starting small, we are keeping the spend to a minimum. Over time we may grow the program and increase the budget.
- Communications, accountability sessions: GoToMeeting (paid account), and Zoom (free resource)
- Creating video snippets for assignments: ViewedIt (free option), and Screencast (free option)
- Personality quiz: 16 Personalities (free resource)
- Marketing/Sales tools: HubSpot (free option), SugarCRM Community Edition (free option), Mailchimp (free option), Canva (free option), Vistaprint (free designing capabilities)
- Tracking progress/milestones: shared Google Drive (free)
- Advertising the mentorship for applicants: Corporate social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), client schools (offering it to their students)
We suggest reviewing all of your internal tools with which you are already familiar. Find out if there is a free version of the tool you can use as an independent instance to keep the data separate from your client data. If not, ask your vendors or account reps to provide a trial account. They may do so free of charge if you explain to them why you need it. It's good business for them to be a "partner" in a mentoring program. ALWAYS remember the first rule in sales...if you don't ask, the answer is always no!
Next up, it's time to put your plan in writing. Remember the more specific the better. It does not have to be extremely detailed, but it must be very specific. General statements such as "help mentee get better" or "have meetings to evaluate progress" are too arbitrary and will lead to frustration and disappointment. Below is our basic outline.
- Reach out to local universities, promo via social media and find applicants
- Phone interview, prescreening
- Accept up to 5 qualified, committed mentees
- Program will run 90 days Jan-Mar 2018
- 3 mentors (all of which will interact with mentees at different times)
- Train mentee to proficiency on 3 new skills he/she did not have
- Expand professional network of mentee via LinkedIn, connections in higher ed, professional in their field of study
- Provide resource to use as human interest marketing for SmarterServices
- Positive PR opportunity for SmarterServices
- Increase SmarterServices' credibility and visibility in the higher education space of helping students be successful
- Time commitment - mentor – 2 hrs per week, mentee – 5 hrs per week; 90-day program
- Mentee - 6 completed assignments – 1 every 2 weeks
- Mentor makes 10 introductions to key professionals in various industry (decided upon)
- Certificate of completion at end of program and recognition as first members of inaugural class
- Complete reading assignment (book from pre-selected list which we will provide)
In the next blog, we examine the impact technology has on learning both from the student's and professional's perspective. Click here to read it now.