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e-Mentoring Possibilities for Online Doctoral Students: A Literature Review

Adult Learning Volume 20, Number 3, ISSN 1045-1595


A growing number of adult learners invest time, energy, and financial resources in completing online doctoral degrees. Several factors, other than the program itself, influence a person's decision to pursue a degree online. Many choose online learning because they are faced with challenges often typical for adult learners that prohibit them from attending a land-based college campus regularly. A few of these challenges include full-time work (the need to work, and, perhaps, to work shifts or multiple jobs), socio-economic status, family obligations, physical challenges, and residence in remote geographic locations. Some research suggests that students may also select online learning after feeling they have experienced racially discriminatory treatment in the land-based classroom. The choice to complete an online degree, perhaps for some of the reasons stated, may be evident in rising enrollment and graduation figures for women and people of color in online doctoral education. Recognizing the need for advanced credentials, many private institutions offering online degrees have positioned themselves to meet the educational demands of this growing and diverse population. Among this rising population, several of these online doctoral students expect a sound return on educational investment in the form of a career in higher education. However, studies have found that many college and university search committees harbor significant concerns when considering online doctoral degree recipients for academic employment. This article explores the possibilities of e-mentoring for doctoral students completing online programs.


Columbaro, N.L. (2009). e-Mentoring Possibilities for Online Doctoral Students: A Literature Review. Adult Learning, 20(3), 9-15. Retrieved January 22, 2020 from .

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