Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Peer mentoring for online teachers

Are you new to teaching online or would you like to refresh your approach by looking at others' online teaching?

Are you an experienced online teacher who likes to share with colleagues and make connections across universities?

The Universities of York and Waikato are seeking expressions of interest from staff who teach online and would like to be paired with a colleague from one of our institutions for mentoring purposes. 

The University of York has been operating a peer observation scheme since 2011, and joined forces with Waikato in 2014-2015 when online lecturers from Waikato's Faculty of Education opted into the York-Waikato peer observation and mentoring scheme, which involves partnering with a teaching colleague from the University of York in order to set goals, exchange feedback, and generate new ideas.

Here are 4 reasons to opt into peer mentoring:

1. Teaching online can often be an isolating practice, particularly when budget constraints increase teacher-student ratios and make team-teaching less common at tertiary level. An online mentor is someone to consult with when you need collegial support
2. Mentoring is a way of valuing teaching and professional learning, to strive for continual improvement, and to prioritise the scholarship of teaching and learning alongside other research endeavours.
3. While the institution may place greater weight on student appraisal data, peer mentoring is a way of triangulating with student perspectives. As well as knowing how our students experience our classes, and what their needs are, much can come from the perspective of an experienced colleague.
4. An international mentoring partnership is an opportunity to widen perspectives and to build research partnerships too. Waikato staff who participate in the York-Waikato online mentoring scheme might also be interested in applying for the York Link Award in order to follow up their work in person with colleagues in York.

If you are interested in joining the partnership this year, please email diforbes@waikato.ac.nz by 21 March with details of: 

  • What you teach online: subject areas/programme
  • Possible areas for your own development
  • What you might offer as a mentor 
  • Which time of year suits you best

The partnership is about collegial support, being internationally connected and informed, and working flexibly.
Colleagues from any institution working in any discipline are welcome, so please forward the information to any interested online teachers

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