Electronic mentoring as an example for the use of information and communications technology in engineering education
Electronic mentoring programmes at colleges and universities and especially in engineering and science are a relatively new phenomenon. Electronic mentoring has been developed based on the possibilities unique to information and communications technology. The common feature of electronic mentoring programmes is the independence from geography and time constraints for connecting mentoring participants. The article provides a brief introduction to the concept of mentoring and its benefits, especially for students in engineering. It continues with exploring the differences of electronic and face-to-face mentoring and discusses the advantages and challenges of electronic mentoring programmes. The reader's understanding of how an actual electronic mentoring programme works is enhanced by introducing MentorNet (www.MentorNet.net), the e-mentoring network for women in engineering and related sciences. Although this programme is specifically designed to support women students in engineering and sciences, many aspects are applicable to electronic mentoring programmes with a different target population. The article concludes by suggesting that good mentoring experiences--whether face-to-face or e-mentoring--can help create a positive attitude towards lifelong learning opportunities that are beneficial to all students.
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