Throughout EDTC 400, I was assigned to mentor five EDTC 300 students. The mentoring process consisted of an introduction over Slack at the beginning of the semester, commenting on their blog posts, some interaction on Twitter, and answering a few technical questions along the way. My main form of interaction was through their blogs. I tried my best to comment on their posts and learning project updates each week, although I have to admit it was a challenge to keep up with them all!
When commenting, I tried to do one of three things:
- provide a tip to help them improve their posts
- share a resource that is related to the post’s topic
- ask a question to encourage them to think more critically
A lot of the tips I provided my mentees were related to small technical things such as encouraging them to use the ‘open link in a new tab’ feature, pointing out that a link didn’t work, or explaining how to embed an article/video link. This mentoring process was rewarding in that I felt as though I was actually able to get to know a few of my mentees. I really enjoyed following their journeys through EDTC 300, as it was one of my favourite classes. Below is a Tweet one of my mentees posted at the end of the semester, thanking me for my support 🙂
I did sometimes find it challenging to try and help my mentees with technical issues over the internet. Some things are just way too difficult to explain over text on Slack, but I once solved this by sending a video explanation which seemed to help. This experience definitely opened my eyes to get a glimpse of how difficult online teaching can be, especially when it is asynchronous. However, thanks to the EDTC classes I have gained a lot of knowledge and tools that would help me immensely should I ever have to teach an online class.
My biggest takeaway from the experience of being a mentor is that you can always learn from others, even if they supposedly have less experience or knowledge on a subject than you do. My mentees taught me how to add a poll to a blog post, which is something I had never seen before! I also learned a lot about the subjects they chose to explore for their learning projects and enjoyed reading their insights on various EDTC 300 topics. This is definitely a lesson I will keep close to me as a teacher. I think it is so important to remember that I can always learn from my students, as they too will have valuable insights and will view things from a different perspective than myself.
I wish all my mentees the best of luck in their future endeavors! I know they are all going to be (or already are) amazing educators.
Below is the link to my mentor log: