This semester I had the privilege to be a mentor for 4 students in EDTC300. This was an amazing experience, and I would do it again.
The most challenging part is honestly accountability, ensuring you are keeping up with those students, and making sure you mentor more than one person. I found myself hovering towards the one or two students who were more active on twitter and their blogs, when in reality I would have been better, if anything, to help the students who weren’t as active.
I also ran into a problem where one student did not have their blog setup properly and I could not find their posts. I had offered to help them fix their blog, and we had discussed their interest in that, but in the end they never made the time to do a zoom meet, or in person, to talk about improvements. You just have to try your best with recommendations, they might be used they might be ignored.
You might start out worried because you might feel “unqualified” to mentor someone, but this is not the case! As long as you keep up a discussion on their blogs, your cohors will find a way to ask questions that you can answer that are useful to them!
This really gives the feeling of teaching an online class in the sense that you have to be open online. You will have those students who are keen and active, and others who are falling behind and not as active. You will have those students full of questions and students who don’t ask anything. This is common and normal in the real classroom, but online you have the barrier of communication. You can’t as easily sit down and just talk to those students. I believe in the future I would love to attempt an online course, and witnessing two semesters of EDTC has really shown me how rich an online class can be.
In general, this forced me to move a bit out of my comfort zone, and really reach out to people, almost in an annoying way. For the active students, it was easy to continue the conversation, however for other students I never really got a reply so I was talking to myself the whole time. You just have to hope they are reading what you are saying and talking something from that.
As I said, this was an excellent experience that I quite enjoyed, and I had some great conversations this semester. I really do hope I can continue some of those conversations despite EDTC being over, however I am thankful for EDTC offering this opportunity in the first place.
You can view my mentoring log here