|dc.description.abstract||This research addressed a gap in the literature regarding the use of e-mentoring
as a successful infrastructure mechanism to support educators in delivery of higher
education and metrics for its use in scaling online education programs.
The methodology applied to this research was a Delphi Study. The Delphi
Technique is a qualitative methodology to build a consensus opinion from a panel of
experts. This Delphi was based on a series of rounds in which a panel of experts
responded to survey questions, each survey item presented as an essentiality statement
ranked by a Likert-type scale index from Very Important down to Unimportant.
Descriptive statistics were calculated for each survey statement to determine consensus.
This study addressed five research questions in the areas of support for distance
education faculty: what attributes of an e-mentoring program for faculty engaged in
teaching distance education classes lead to perceived effectiveness by coaches and
practitioners (terms introduced to describe the mentoring relationship between peers in a
community of practice), what formal and informal activities or processes provide for
preparation for teaching online, collegiality, and professional development (previously
published operationalized factors) (Velez, 2010), and what metrics can be used to
determine that e-mentoring has led to increased spread, depth, sustainability, and sense
of ownership in distance education, previously published factors for scaling (Coburn,
Based on the Delphi results, the highest consensus means concerned the
importance of faculty and administrative support of distance education. For example,
the study found high consensus that e-mentoring should be encouraged with release
time, coaching should be considered in tenure and promotion decisions, and provision
for communication allowances and technical support should be provided for e-mentoring
sessions. Training topics of greatest interest included accessibility training, content
delivery and teaching modalities, and copyright law and intellectual property
expectations. Important metrics included the number of “formerly coached” practitioners
acting as e-mentoring coaches in the future, the number of semester-hours taught, the
number of faculty initiating new practices, and faculty acceptance of delivering
This study is significant because it researched the use of e-mentoring as a support
for faculty in scaling online learning programs in higher education and provided expert
evaluation of processes and procedures recommended by faculty to support their effort.
It also evaluated metrics to assess the scaling of distance education programs.||en