Mentoring Thread Archives from the VIEWS listserv conversations
during the 2003 Annual Members Meeting


Date: Sun Jun 29 2003 - 22:17:33 PDT

In the thread about DE certification, Ellen Blackmun and Charles Wert brought up the concept of mentoring.

Ellen:"> What about mentoring by an experienced distance teacher? How important is that?

Charles: It is very important. It is usually preferable not to reinvent the wheel nor repeat the same mistakes."

This struck me as something that WAOE might want to more formally undertake. From the conversations around certification, it certainly seems that we have a
number of people who have good experience in online instruction. Is there someway we can tap into this experience in a more structured format? Certainly people can volunteer to teach courses we may design and offer, but what about mentoring? Is it possible that individual members would be willing to commit to being a mentor to a struggling institution?

For example, John Afele earlier talked about his experiences in Africa and the gap between knowledge and experience. If an institution in Africa wished to undertake online instruction, would someone from WAOE be willing to be a mentor by email? Would you be willing to act as a point of contact to help share your experiences, your tips and techniques that you have found useful.

Within the U.S. there are still a number of institutions who are just beginning to look at offering an online component to their teaching (whether as a hybrid or full online course). I see faculty and administrators from these institutions all of the time in my classes or in presentations that I do around the country. They certainly need mentors as well.

Is this a place where WAOE and its members can make their mark? Would this fall under OEDC or some other committee? This may be a quick way to offering
our expertise while we struggle with creating courses and continue to struggle with the concepts and efficacy of certification.

Maggie McVay Lynch, Ed.D.
Portland State University

From: Diane Howard (
Date: Mon Jun 30 2003 - 08:19:26 PDT

Dear WAOE Colleagues,

I totally agree with the importance of mentoring. My being mentored as I facilitate online graduate education courses with Indiana Wesleyen's online program has greatly enhanced my effectiveness and efficiency as a facilitator. Further, mentorship promotes a support system for the facilitators. As I am able through WAOE, I would be glad to be a mentor. I am already using my Web site, my writing, and personal e-mails to encourage, support, and to mentor other facilitators.

Diane Howard

From: Steve Eskow (
Date: Mon Jun 30 2003 - 10:39:12 PDT

Maggie, your exciting idea opens up a range of new and needed possible roles to be played by WAOE--roles that no other organization is now playing, and perhaps no other organization is equipped to do.

Mentoring on the techniques of online instruction, as you suggest, is one possibility.

If we think of an "International Service Center," or "Resource Center," a group of volunteers from WAOE's countries of membership could put new levels of meaning into "international" education and "multicultural" education.


If I am teaching in the US, and I would like an online lecture by an authority on Mexican industry, a Mexican member of WAOE's resource pool might be able to find one, and arrange for him or her to correspond with my class;

If I wanted to create relationships between my students and students in Ghana or Botswana, an African WAOEite might make such arrangements;

If I was interested in "service learning," arranging for US students to spend a month or a semester or a year in India doing socially useful work, and turning that work into learning that would go into my portfolio, I might write to an Indian member of WAOE to see if I could be helped;

And on and on....

Mentoring is the tip of a very large iceberg, and this is a matter that I would be happy to help come about.

Steve Eskow

From: Nicholas Bowskill (
Date: Tue Jul 01 2003 - 01:45:04 PDT

I'd like to pick up on the mentoring idea mentioned by Steve and Maggie as a role for waoe? I very much liked the scenario described by Steve and the way the waoe might facilitate contact and development between people. I'd like to make a related point to expand a little on that if i may?

It's marvellous to see the discussion that has arisen over the last few weeks on this topic. I thought how difficult it can be for a course to generate this amount of insight and thoughtfulness (although admittedly it can but one eye is always on the formal course requirements). It made me think of the value of informal learning and the role of the waoe in the support of that kind of work.

Many of you will be familiar with Alan Tough's work at Toronto in the area of informal learning. Its my belief that waoe could be a home for people to bring their informal learning projects for support. People might propose or inform us about a project and a group of interested parties might offer to construct a temporary learning set around that project. In some ways waoe already does that of course but this might be made more explicit.

I won't go on at length lest it become too much to read but i think this may be more practical and helpful be it an informal learning project brought by an individual, group or institution. The project will live within waoe for as long as it seems useful for the proposer and may take the form deemed most useful (open/closed discussions, resource creation, virtual visits by waoe group etc etc.). I think it might be a way of enacting and developing that earlier mentoring relationship suggested by you Steve and Maggie.

I'd be happy to work on the development of waoe as a facilitator of informal learning projects. What do others think?


From: Steve Eskow (
Date: Tue Jul 01 2003 - 09:12:37 PDT

I think your idea is a great one, Nick. It begins to suggest a generalization: WAOE as a brokering agency, bringing together people from around the world who share common interests.

Steve E.

From: Maggie McVay Lynch (
Date: Tue Jul 01 2003 - 11:07:27 PDT

Would those interested in the mentoring ideas we have been discussing be willing to make this into a committee or O-CREW? This would allow us to continue to work on this topic beyond the annual members meeting. Nick and Steve, as both of you have been positive toward this effort would one of you like to volunteer to chair this effort? I would very much like to be integrally involved in this effort, but would prefer not to chair it as I have other chair type responsibilities already with WAOE.

Are there other members who would also be interested in helping to make this mentoring idea work for WAOE?


From: Michael D Warner (
Date: Tue Jul 01 2003 - 11:42:01 PDT

This is a great idea. Perhaps it would be possible to link this initiative into the networking framework of the "Looking for Partners" page at the WAOE web site?

Mike Warner

From: Steve Eskow (
Date: Tue Jul 01 2003 - 22:09:05 PDT

Maggie, I'd certainly work with Nick on this, if he would chair. I'm also interested in the notion of assembling a roster of international resources who would be available to arrange connections for those elsewhere to people and information in their home countries.


From: Nicholas Bowskill (
Date: Wed Jul 02 2003 - 01:45:17 PDT

Steve thanks for the encouragement. I only hope i can live up to your hopes but i believe it to be an interesting vision of waoe as an informal learning project support service. I'd be willing to work on or chair an o-crew or committee if you like? (Steve would you prefer/like to chair it?).

I could draw up a draft of how it might work as a discussion document in the next couple of days. Could we organise (if we don't already have) a list or online space for discussing a way forward and to look at some of the issues?

Who else would like to join such an effort and do we do this with the blessing of everyone else?


From: Michael D Warner (
Date: Wed Jul 02 2003 - 10:23:33 PDT

Hi Nick,

I have set up a Conference folder on the WAOE WebBoard at under the title "Distributed Learning Mentoring" which will archive the discussion threads, allows active links, and has an archivable associated chat room. If you want to change the title to something else just let me know. Access is open to all WAOE members but you will need your username and password which is the first portion (before the ampere sign) of the email address you used to register you membership in WAOE and the password is "waoe" (case sensitive and without the quotation marks). Anyone experiencing difficulties entering the site, please send me an email message with your registered name.

Mike Warner

From: R C Sharma, IGNOU (
Date: Wed Jul 02 2003 - 01:25:20 PDT

Dear Maggie,

You may count me as well to the group working on mentoring idea. regards

From: Nicholas Bowskill (
Date: Wed Jul 02 2003 - 03:37:46 PDT


If i offer to chair this thing we've so far got the members as follows (correct me if i've missed anyone or got it wrong at all):


I'm not sure how many we need for a crew but certainly there's room for more participants if interested.


From: Maggie McVay Lynch (
Date: Wed Jul 02 2003 - 08:11:53 PDT


I'm glad to hear you wish to chair! In terms of numbers needed for a CREW, anything more than one is sufficient. :) Certainly, in this situation, it would be nice to have at least 6-8 to get the mentoring off the ground. We certainly don't want it to be so small that the four of us become overwhelmed with the need. I have a feeling that once the framework is layed and an announcement is made that we will find ourselves quite busy -- happily so I hope.

If it is acceptable to this group, I will include an announcement of the formation of an O-CREW for mentoring in the July newsletter. Any other members wishing to join the mentoring effort? Now is the opportunity to commit your time in addition to your ideas.


From: Rozhan Idrus (
Date: Wed Jul 02 2003 - 18:54:14 PDT

Hi all,

Count me in if there is still room for one more.

Although I have re-tooled and re-skilled to DE more than 17 years ago, my PhD's in Solid State Physics.Maybe I can contribute in the areas of science education.


Rozhan M. Idrus
Instructional Designer
School of Distance Education
Universiti Sains Malaysia
11800 USM, Penang, Malaysia

For your reading pleasure..

Me again. Bye.

From: J. H. Steele (
Date: Wed Jul 02 2003 - 13:40:13 PDT

I'm willing to work on it.

John (Dr. Cat)

Prof. John H. Steele, Ph.D.
English Department
University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla

From: Jenna Seehafer (
Date: Wed Jul 02 2003 - 16:29:20 PDT

Maggie, I think mentoring is a great idea, and though I have very limited time, I can be available for some questions/discussion from students or teachers regarding English as a Second Language, Composition, literary theory, homeschooling, and elementary school curriculum (ages 5-12). I may have to set limits on how many people I can mentor at a time.

Jenna Seehafer
College of Arts and Letters
California State University, Sacramento

From: Maggie McVay Lynch (
Date: Tue Jul 01 2003 - 12:10:46 PDT

I meant to forward this earlier and must have somehow not done it. My apologies.


From: "David Andrew" <>
To: <>, <>
Subject: RE: WAOE members as worldwide mentors
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 10:45:11 +0100

In the UK we have a structure in which a national organisation - SEDA (The Staff and Educational Development Association ( runs an accreditation scheme for University programmes under the title - Embedding Learning Technologies (ELT). As well as giving national recognition to individuals completing those programmes it does also provide the sort of institutional mentoring that you are talking about.

From: Mark Smith (
Date: Wed Jul 02 2003 - 08:32:56 PDT

If/as I have time to commit, I'm in. I'd like to be in on the current graduate student side of things, as someone interested in learning about distance learning and distance education environments/media, with hopes of teaching as well as providing development to other faculty/staff in this area, someday. I a way as a mentee who is working to become proficient, and then a mentor, myself. That, however, can be a continuous, rather than a discontinuous (with defined stages, with stops between) process.

Mark Smith

Mark J. Smith
Geography '97
MA Student in Educational Media
Appalachian State University
Go Mountaineers!

From: Clifford Layton (
Date: Wed Jul 02 2003 - 11:56:17 PDT

As faculty mentor for online learning on my campus, and somewhat beyond, I I am very interested in this thread, especially in terms of appropriateness of computer tools and in terms of course development time needs.

Cliff Layton, Rogers State University

Date: Wed Jul 02 2003 - 16:52:30 PDT

Hi. I will like to be part of it too.

Colin Ong

From: Nicholas Bowskill (
Date: Thu Jul 03 2003 - 07:05:22 PDT

I've cobbled this together to start off our thinking about how this thing might work. See what you think and i welcome comments.

I think one of the other tasks will be to draw up a list of those wishing to be involved in the coordination crew and those wishing to be considered as mentors -some of this might be determined by the nature of projects submitted.

See what you think and i'll get back to you all once we've got list etc sorted (Maggie and Mike i'll be in touch soon re lists and webboard etc but i'm guesting on another machine while mine's at the menders so haven't got access to my waoe passwords etc).




This service aims to provide a vehicle for responding to globally distributed professional development needs in the area of learning technology and flexible learning.

This will be done by temporary teams being formed in response to the receipt of a proposal for an ‘informal learning project’ (Tough, 1972). The online organising crew will facilitate the transition of all proposals through each phase.

Temporary teams are seen as a collaborative voluntary online approach to mentoring novices or those seeking help in a particular aspect of online learning. We take the basic concept of mentoring and develop it into a project-based developmental and supportive approach. We believe such an approach affords all participants –the person submitting the proposal and the members of the temporary team -a learning context and a professional development opportunity in the new global learning environment. At the same time we believe that it is an approach that is sensitive to local cultures and local needs.

This service is entirely voluntary and is understood as a means of sharing distributed expertise and willing cooperation with all those respecting the goals and vision of WAOE. We can not guarantee that all proposals will be addressed because resources may not permit and the workload may be too great. Where it is not possible to support a proposal through all phases of the project, for whatever reason, we shall maintain a record of the need and proposal for others to consider at a later date or outside the service.

Priority may be given to proposals received from the developing countries in recognition of the respect that WAOE holds for different cultures and the inequity of resources that exists across the world. This also recognises that so called ‘developed countries’ are more likely to have local sources of support available.

The service is conceptualised initially in 4 phases as follows:

Phase 1: Discussion Phase
Project proposal received
Discussed by reception o-crew
Scope of the project agreed with person submitting proposal
(Scope to include methods, technologies, timetable and expertise/support required)
Agreement obtained for all phases to be completed

Phase 2: Team Assembly Phase
O-Crew to post the proposal with details of scope to crew list
Invitation to join the support team issued
Team members identified and proposer informed

Phase 3: Implementation Phase
Team to work with agreed environment to respond to proposal as agreed
It may well be that the team will seek out an online venue for exploring the issues raised in the proposal or it may be that the team will be given access to the local infrastructure. Project blogs may be one solution for an easily constructed working environment that is archived automatically and may be closed to team members only.

Phase 4: Closing Review Phase
A summary report of the project to be produced as a resource for the WAOE and for the proposer. This reflective document will:
- Review all phases of the project
- Provide a biographical account of the project written by the proposer in context to help us understand the project in more detail.
- An additional document will be constructed by the temporary support team providing the support story and the biography of those involved in the team.
-The two documents along with the original proposal will be placed together online with any other evidence or artefact to construct an archive.
Once approved, this will finalise the project and signal the close of the agreement between all parties.

This document is intended as a basis for discussion and to outline the service, the benefits and the possible operating structure of the service within the WAOE organisation. The service is conceptualised as a collaborative professional development environment in an informal learning context. This is a self-directed open approach to new contexts and learning environments. In light of this voluntary self-help framework the service is offered free of any charge without any obligations or come-backs. The WAOE will however undertake to be self-policing in terms of the conduct of those involved in temporary teams and mindful of individual and cultural respect being maintained at all times in whatever ways possible and reasonable."

Michael D. Warner
Cyber Parliamentarian
Tempe, Arizona

From: Steve Eskow (
Date: Thu Jul 03 2003 - 09:57:23 PDT

An excellent beginning, Nick, and enough to get us started, I think.

Would we want to indicate that such services are available to individuals; schools and colleges; oversight bodies, such as Ministries of Education; and regulatory bodies, such as accrediting agencies?

We might then indicate the kind of requests we might consider for each categogy:

Individuals making the transition from classroom instruction to online education; online teachers seeking help on specific problems or issues, etc

Schools, colleges, and universities looking for guidance on moving into distance education, etc.

And so on.

Steve E.

From: Nicholas Bowskill (
Date: Fri Jul 04 2003 - 02:20:27 PDT

I'm away from tonight for a week but hope to appear in the webboard over next week and thereafter. Here's a quick off the cuff response to Steve, Roberto and Cliff in the meantime.

Steve: Yes i believe it would be very useful to try and detail those we aim to serve as you suggest. We should perhaps include your text in the proposal document i sent round before.

Cliff: I see it as open for discussion but i'd pictured the coordinators posting the proposals and inviting a response from prospective team members. A lot depends on the quantity of proposals recieved and our ability to cope but ideally we don't want to be too jundgemental on what is deemed 'worthy.'

Roberto: Yes those documents that come out of the process should be in html or pdf or both but certainly made publicly available. The main purpose of having them do that fourth phase is as a reflective learning act but also to help us develop a learning history and resource for others and to contribute to the development of a shared identity too. There should be something in it for everyone involved.

I hope to keep in touch over the coming week in webboard and i'll be back at work july 14th.

cheers and thanks for such a positive response.

From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi (
Date: Fri Jul 04 2003 - 18:01:00 PDT

Thanks, to Dr. Bowskill for leading us in WAOE in the direction of mentoring and preparing a good document..for..that purpose..

Many thanks to, Maggie for raising the issue of WAOE members as worldwide mentors..

I regard WAOE as an World Organization and at same time as an World Educational Institution.

Along the same line of path, if possible..adding few comments.. "Educational institutions have for a long time been thought of as the place where students learn. It is only more recently however, that educational institutions have begun to be thought of as places where teachers' professional learning can also take place."

References re: Mentoring
Anderson, E and Shannon, A (1995) Towards a conceptualization of mentoring, in Issues in Mentoring, T Kerry and A Shelton Mayes, Open University Press, Buckingham

Blandford, S (2000) Managing Professional Development in Schools, Routledge, London

Carmin, C N (1988) Issues on research on mentoring: definitional and methodological, International Journal of Mentoring, 2 (2), pp 9-13

Carmin, S (1993) Definitions of mentoring, in The Return of the Mentor: Strategies for workplace learning, Falmer Press, London

Carruthers, J (1993) The principles and practices of mentoring, in The Return of the Mentor: Strategies for workplace learning, ed B J Caldwell, Falmer Press, London

Furlong, J (1995) The limits of competence: a cautionary note on circular 9/92, in Issues in Mentoring, eds T Kerry and A Shelton Mayes, Routledge, London

Hillgate Group (1989) Learning to Teach, The Claridge Press, London

Jacobi, M (1991) Mentoring and undergraduate academic success: a literature review, Review of Educational Research, 61 (4), pp 505-32

Levinson, D, Darrow, C Klein, E, Levinson, M and McKee, B (1978) Seasons of a Man's Life, Knopf, New York

Maynard, T and Furlong, J (1995) Learning to teach and models of mentoring, in Issues in Mentoring, T Kerry and A Shelton Mayes, Open University Press, Buckingham

McIntyre, D (1996) Mentors in Schools: Developing the profession of teaching, Fulton Press, London

Merriam, S (1983) Mentors and protg's: a critical review of the literature, Adult Education Quarterly, 33, pp 161-73

Rothera, M, Hawkins, S and Hendry, J (1995) The role of subject mentor in further education, in Issues in Mentoring, T Kerry and A Shelton Mayes, Open University Press, Buckingham

Schon, D (1983) The Reflective Practice, Basic Books, New York

Wrightsman, L S (1981) Research methodologies for assessing mentoring, presented at the Annual Conference of the American Psychological Association, Los Angeles (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 209 339)


In the end, I try to add or say very carefully -before we raise so many topics -it is always intelligent to think first -who will tie the bell into the Cat's neck, if I correctly express the phrase in English.

Kind regards,
Arun Kumar Tripathi