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Josh McCarthy, The University of Adelaide, Australia
This study explores the efficacy of open educational resources and online social network sites in linking digital media students with industry through an e-mentoring scheme, to enhance employment prospects and promote professional networking. It reports on the progress made from 2009 to 2010, within a postgraduate program at the University of Adelaide, Australia. Over one semester, eighteen students in 2009 and sixteen students in 2010 engaged with their peers and a group of mentors through an online forum within Facebook. Students were required to submit work-in-progress imagery online, after which industry representatives would provide feedback and critiques, allowing students to generate embryonic professional connections with industry. Over the two years, students responded positively to the experience, citing professional networking and peer feedback as key outcomes. Industry representatives noted the interactive platform of the online group, and the ability to engage with potential employees as benefits of the scheme. The project will expand in 2011, through international collaboration with Penn State University in the United States.