Exploring Digital Tools used in Higher Education Mentoring Programs

A number of higher education institutions offer mentoring programs for graduate students as a form of learning and development. For this research study, I am interested in learning more about the digital tools and its impact on graduate students (mentees/protégés) and mentors that participate in this type of professional development.

Purpose of Study

The purpose of this research study is to explore how digital tools are being utilized and how these tools impact digital and face-to-face mentoring programs. This research will examine mentoring programs to understand the digital tools needed in supporting digital mentoring and the impacts of these tools on the mentor and mentee experiences.

Specifically, I am interested in answering the following research questions.

  • What digital tools are being used in higher education mentoring programs?
  • What digital tools are needed in supporting mentoring experiences?

Research Worldview

With limited theoretical framework in mentoring, a worldview of constructivism may particularly be useful in constructing knowledge and meaning from experiences (Creswell, 2009).

Bodies of Literature

I seek to explore the following bodies of literature:

  • Digital tools for mentoring or similar experiences
  • Mentoring models, frameworks, and program designs (specifically for digital mentoring)
  • Mentoring experiences (viewpoint of graduate students or mentee)
  • Mentoring benefits (e.g., retention, professional relationships, improved skills, academic impacts, etc.).
  • Communication platforms
  • Social cognitive learning theory

Research Method

Participants: Graduate students that are participating in mentoring programs at higher education institutions will serve as target participants for this study.

Setting: The study will take place online. An internet connection is required to access the online survey.

Research design: Mixed methods

Procedures: Participants will be asked to complete an online survey (created using Qualitrics) of close and open-ended questions. The questions will ask about participants use of digital tools in mentoring and the impacts of these tools on the mentoring experience.

Data Analysis:  Close-ended responses will be described using descriptive statistics. Open-ended responses will be coded and grouped based on themes.