In this paper, we describe an IRB-approved (exempt) study designed to help us understand the impact that engaging with a peer mentor has on student learning in the online, intermediate composition classroom. Our study aimed to both identify the quantity of student interactions with peer mentors in online intermediate composition courses and to understand specifically how these interactions impacted students’ learning. The study focused on this question: “How do students describe the impact of peer mentors on their learning in the writing course?” Using a combination of qualitative methods (student survey, student interview, peer mentor reflection, and local institutional data on students’ use of campus resources), we developed four analytical themes focused on modes of engagement, expectations for online interaction, expectations for grades versus reported engagement with peer mentors, and students’ use of campus resources. Through this analysis, we argue that structuring contact points with peer mentors is not enough to engage students with this invaluable learning resource; without attention to the social quality of those contacts, we will not see increased engagement between students and peer mentors in our learning community, nor will we see students’ valuing of peer mentoring as improved.
Arts and Humanities | Educational Methods | Online and Distance Education | Rhetoric and Composition | Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
Jankens, A. , Varty, N. G. , Shier, H. , Borkosh, M. (2021). The (Missing) Human Part: Listening for Students’ Perceptions of the Value of Peer Mentors. Learning Communities Research and Practice, 9(1), Article 6.