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Strategies for Increasing Mentee Online Engagement

* Some strategies listed involve a financial cost to implement, so they are categorized by low/no cost and moderate cost.  PMs should consult with their manager to procure funding to deploy a strategy if necessary.

Low/No Cost Strategies 

Instituting a Grading Policy 

This no cost incentive (often also used to increase pair meetings) involves PMs working collaboratively with their co-teacher to establish a grading policy in class whereby mentees' weekly online messages to their mentor and/or other classroom engagement is graded (i.e., as a part of the grade iMentor class is embedded in).

Giving Students Agency in Their Classroom Environment

Over the years, PMs have reported that giving students some ownership over what their classroom experience looks and feels like can increase the frequency of mentees' engagement and help students focus in class.  This strategy can be used as an incentive and/or a consistent classroom management technique with or without an incentive attached.

"Bringing the Classroom to the Students"

Two of the most common challenges PMs face in the classroom that impact mentees' ability to consistently write online messages to their mentor are attendance and class length.  This strategy outlines an approach PMs have taken when students are not in class or don't have sufficient time during the period to finish their mentor message.  It involves identifying and leveraging additional opportunities for mentees to log in to the iMentor Platform and message their mentor. 

Strategically Organizing Classroom Workflow

PMs with shorter class length have found success in increasing mentees' online writing consistency by changing how their class is structured.  This strategy outlines one way that PMs have reogranized their class workflow to foster more frequent online interaction between pairs through creative lesson planning.  

Instituting Positive Reinforcement "Reward"/Award Systems

Similar to the pedagogical practice of positive verbal reinforcement, this strategy is designed to be implemented in two primary ways: First, PMs have found success in managing toward consistent online engagement using extremely low-cost instant "reward" incentives (i.e., candy/snack) in the classroom upon mentees' completion of the lesson message (and often other classroom behaviors).  The second version of this strategy involves distribution of awards to mentees and/or pairs in a public setting (i.e., monthly pair events) to highlight desirable engagement behaviors.  The latter implementation strategy can be executed with or without an associated incentive.

Moderate Cost Strategies

Holding Class Competitions

One of the most common strategies PMs use to increase the frequency of mentees' online engagement over the years has involved holding competitions between class periods for the highest mentee lesson completion percentage.   This strategy has been deployed in various ways and this resource provides guidance on the most common implementation strategy PMs have used.

Leveraging Raffle-Based Incentives

Raffles have been used frequently by PMs throughout iMentor's history as an incentive to increase mentees' completion of weekly messages to their mentors.  While this strategy has been implemented in various ways (including layering in writing and in-person meetings), this link provides guidance on the most common version used by PMs. 

Holding Mentees Accountable to One Another

Through several iterations, PMs have explored strategies that involve placing mentees into groups where they are incentivized to encourage one another to complete different tasks in the classroom by working together to recceive an incentive (i.e., combinations of tasks like online writing, survey completion and participation - for example).  This strategy, which has also been used in tandem with efforts to increase in-person meeting frequency is newer to iMentor but has shown promise in not only increasing online mentee engagement in the short term, but sustaining engagement over longer periods of time.