Monday, December 3, 2007
Designing an e-mentoring system
Today I presented my paper about designing an e-mentoring email system at the ASCILITE conference in Singapore. My co-presenter was Associate Professor Catherine McLoughlin, Australian Catholic University. Catherine and I met through the ASCILITE mentoring scheme and she helped me write the full paper that is published in the conferences proceedings.
I think the presentation went well. I didn't go over time like I usually do, so that was an improvement. In the discussion time, we talked about how we can sell professional development programs to health professionals when the programs have no overt benefit ie there are no professional development points or qualifications attached. If educators are having problems getting students to engage with online activities in a formal education program, how am I going to get people to engage with a program that is purely voluntary with no tangible benefit (by this I mean an official piece of paper. Obviously, mentoring has a number of intangible benefits)?
One really interesting suggestion that came from the audience was to use retired health professionals as mentors. I thought this was a fascinating suggestion and would love to explore this further. This ties in with what was said at the recruitment conference I attended a couple of weeks ago-how can we utilize retired health professionals in a way that addresses recruitment and retention issues? The problem I have had in this research isn't so much a shortage of mentors, but rather a lack of people who feel they would benefit from being mentored.
The photo is of Catherine and I. I look like I am about to have a heart attack because...I was about to have a heart attack!! Catherine power-walked me up a great big hill at a million miles an hour, carrying my very heavy lap top in temperatures that are significantly higher than those in Dunedin. I thought I was about to take my last breath!