Connected: Linking postgraduate design students and industry through online mentoring

  • YEAR
    McCarthy, Joshua
    2010 Conference Papers


ABSTRACT: This case study explores the efficacy of online social network sites in linking
design students with industry through an e-mentoring scheme, to enhance employment
prospects and promote professional networking. Over one semester eighteen students
engaged with their peers and a group of industry professionals through an interactive online
forum within the host site Facebook. Facebook was chosen ahead of alternate sites for
several reasons including its immense popularity, intuitive interface, and its successful
integration in other design courses within an Australian school of architecture. Each week
students were required to submit work-in-progress online, after which industry representatives
would provide feedback and critiques, with the expectation that meaningful discussions would
ensue, allowing students to generate embryonic professional connections with industry. The
evaluation process involved pre and post semester questionnaires for the students, weekly
analysis of the online group, and interviews with the industry representatives involved in the
project. Students responded positively to the experience, citing professional networking and
peer feedback as key outcomes. The project will expand in the future to include international
peers and mentors.


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