Evaluation of a Tutoring and Mentoring Model in Distance Higher Education

Garcia, M. S., Soto, N. M., Lopez, A. R. and Suarez-Ortega, M. (2011) Evaluation of a Tutoring and Mentoring Model in Distance Higher Education. Revista De Educacion (356). pp. 719-732.


This paper reports a model of tutorial guidance and mentoring in college that has been implemented at the Spanish National University for Distance Education for two academic years, in order to welcome new students and provide them with orientation, thus enhancing the quality of their academic transition and early adjustment. Designed with the distance methodology, the model incorporates the role of the advisor (played by a faculty mentor) and peer mentors (senior students) and combines the use of e-mentoring with face-to-face mentoring. This guidance intervention is organised around the Tutorial Guidance Plan, starting with web-based specific training for those involved. Thus, new students can receive guidance and advice from a personal advisor and a peer mentor for at least their first year at university. The programme was validated using a complex research design to assess the process and product. Data were collected using ad-hoc questionnaires, interviews, diaries, records and discussion groups. The results corroborate the benefits participants gained from this mode of guidance. The evaluations describe students' orientation needs, the evolution of the helping relationship, the points it addressed and the means of communication used. A general assessment of the programme and the satisfaction of participants' expectations is also given. From the assessment of benefits, it is concluded that the model is viable and applicable in distance higher education. Also, the model makes it possible to demonstrate the suitability of this methodology for achieving a flexible mentoring relationship tailored to the needs of each student.

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