Online Peer Mentoring for Communication Students in Hong Kong under Emergency Remote Teaching

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Abstract

Since 2019, Hong Kong has been stumbled by a series of socio-political challenges including the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill (Anti-ELAB) Movement in 2019 and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a sudden shut down of campuses and shift to online instruction. According to Hodges et al. (2020), the temporary shift from face-to-face instruction to remote teaching when having an emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic is not online education, but emergency remote teaching (ERT). Under difficult circumstances, educators' primary focus is to provide an immediate alternative for students to access course content and complete their courses (Rahiem, 2020). A research study conducted in South Korea (Shim and Lee, 2020) found that students were dissatisfied with the ERT because of network instability (34.13%), lack of interactions with teachers and peers (17.29%), and absence of hands-on classroom experiences (10.94%). Conversely, the same study identified several advantages of remote learning under COVID-19, such as comfortable learning environments, smooth lectures, and efficient time utilization (Shim & Lee, 2020).

It is evident that Hong Kong university students perceived their emergency learning experiences negatively, and they suffered from moderate perceived stress levels, poor peer-to-peer relationships, and low learning motivations (Fung, 2020). Many studies identified that social support positively influences university students' mental health and academic performances (De-Berard et al., 2004; Li et al., 2018; Rayle & Chung, 2007; Yasin & Dzulkifli, 2011). Social support arises from a network of people drawn from family, friends, and community members (Awang et al., 2014). According to House (1981), there are four common types of social support, namely (a) tangible, (b) informational, (c) emotional, and (d) appraisal.

To improve students' learning experiences and perceived social support levels, a department-led online peer mentoring program was implemented at a public liberal arts university in Hong Kong between mid-December 2021 and mid-March 2022. Nine peer mentors majoring in communication were recruited and trained to organize five mentoring workshops for 30 Year 1 and Year 3 senior-entry students via Zoom. Topics such as stress management, revision tips, time management were covered in the online workshops. The outcomes of this online peer mentoring program were measured by a mixed-methods research study composed of a preintervention and postintervention online survey, two focus group interviews, and intervention delivery log sheets. This article aims to outline the design, implementation, and effectiveness of this online peer mentoring program for guiding future media educators to implement a similar student-led program at their respective academic unit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-14
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Media Education
Volume14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication

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