Buchanan, Myers & Hardin

Holding Your Hand From a Distance: Online Mentoring and the Graduate Library and Information Science Student

Elizabeth A. Buchanan, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Sarah E. Myers, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Sherrie Langston Hardin, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


The emergence of online education in colleges and universities brings with it a variety of issues and concerns for the remote student. One such issue is online mentoring. This paper presents a study that examines perceptions of the impact and role of online mentoring by online graduate students in a Master of Library and Information Science program. The guiding research question asked “what impact does online mentoring have on the online student experience?” A survey using open and closed-ended response questions was administered. Findings indicate that the participants see the need for online mentors in at least two forms—peer mentors to assist with the “institutional maze” surrounding distance education programs, and secondly, professional mentors to assist with career planning and development. Institutions should thus consider a two-tiered mentor network to meet the needs of students at various points in their academic lives.

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