Pre-con Spotlight: Mentoring Online Students: Conversations to Support Improvement

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Online learning is an awesome opportunity to serve students in unique and individualized ways. But it requires students take a new approach to learning and develop new skills that many learners may find challenging without constructive interactions and support from adults, or mentors. On-site mentors of online learners in our K-12 environment often serve students in many “hats” in our schools. Sometimes they are classroom teachers, but often also serve as counselors, administrators or media specialists. No matter what their official title, online mentors provide a necessary personal connection for students, build trusting relationships and help them to become successful online learners.

Come to the MACUL Pre-Conference “Mentoring Online Students: Conversations to Support Improvement” to engage in professional dialogue with other mentors of online students. Your time will be spent in an active learning experience to explore challenges mentors commonly face and stimulate constructive conversations about effective practices. We asked our presenters, Ken and Julia, to share a little about themselves, where they work and why they are excited about MACUL. Here’s what they had to say.

Ken Dirkin (@kendirkin)

Ken Dirkin
Ken Dirkin

Where do you work and what do you do?
Director of Online Professional Learning at Michigan Virtual University

What excites you most about the MACUL conference?
I look forward to networking with educators.

What are you looking forward to sharing about in your session?
Mentors of online students play a critical role in student success. We are excited to work with participants to actively explore practical application of mentoring online students and it’s impact on online learners.

Julia McBride (@julia_lesley)

Julia McBride
Julia McBride

Where do you work and what do you do?
Michigan Virtual University – Professional Learning Coach focused on supporting thoughtful online and blended professional learning opportunities for educators in the state of Michigan.

What excites you most about the MACUL conference?
It is a beautiful thing to spend 3 days in the company of educators who are committed to their own learning and the continual improvement of educational opportunities for this state’s learners. The energy of this event is contagious, and I feel privileged to be able to contribute.

What are you looking forward to sharing about in your session?
My colleague, Ken Dirkin, and I are looking forward to creating a collaborative environment where mentors of online students can learn from one another, connect to the most current thinking and resources related to their role, and leave feeling energized by a growing statewide network of mentors just like themselves.

We invite you to come to the “Mentoring Online Students: Conversations to Support Improvement” pre-conference from 8:30am – 12:00pm on March 15th. If you regularly work with or advocate for online learners, this is session is a must for you. We look forward to seeing you in Detroit!

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Author

(@jamiedewitt): MVU Director of Blended Professional Learning and MACUL SIG-OBL Director

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