Library of eCoaching Tips

April 2021  Update:  If you are a faculty member or instructor, wondering about how to teach online, don’t miss the Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online.  It will take about 10 minutes to read and will help build your confidence about teaching online, whether teaching synchronously with zoom or switching to a fully online model.  

This library of tips and the posts in the Thoughts on Teaching blog  answer many of the most common questions about teaching online and also address specific challenges from 2020.  The post on Four Types of Discussion Forums from April 2019 might be of particular interest and help if you are teaching online for the first time, and wonder how to use discussion forums.  Note:  The book — The Online Teaching Survival Guide — that organizes all these tips into four phases of a course is available at Amazon or the publisher website at 

*********I am still working on reviewing, updating sometimes  and verifying the links in these tips.  In the meantime, be sure to enjoy them and consider purchasing the book mentioned above. The book also features key foundational chapters on core learning theorists, such as Dewey, Vygotsky, Bruner, etc as well as core learning principles and best practices. 

Let me know which of these online tips are most useful and which might need the most help in the new blog area.   As always I can be reached with judith followed by

Thanks, Judith 


This library of e-coaching tips addresses many of the  issues, challenges and delights in designing and teaching a course in blended or online environments. Novice and experienced faculty alike will find practical and theory-based hints and ideas here.  The tips provided here were the basis of the two editions of the book, The Online Teaching Survival Guide: Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips.  

These tips cover the fundamentals of what to do in the four phases of a course, how to set up and manage groups, how to plan assessments and how to wrap up a course in style. These tips also describe effective and efficient learning strategies and the over arching importance of teaching presence in online courses.

Don’t miss the following two resources that provide a foundation in learning principles and a summation of ten of the best practices of online learning.

    1. Ten Best Practices – A quick look at how to succeed in teaching blended or online programs.  These practices have been expanded to fourteen in Chapter 3.
    2. Ten Core Learning Principles — A description of the core learning principles behind the tips and expanded in Chapter 2 of “the book.”   Here is an earlier version from 2007:   Boettcher, J. V. (2007). Ten core principles for designing effective learning environments:  Insights from brain research and pedagogical theory. Innovate Journal of Online Education 3(3).
Background on the Tips LibraryThis library of tips was started in early 2006 as part of a faculty support program in Duquesne University’s School of Leadership and Professional Advancement at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh ( As we worked with faculty, it soon became obvious that there were fundamental principles and practices that we reviewed with almost every faculty.   Thus the tips were born. The library of tips grew over eight years to almost 100 tips as part of an ongoing ecoaching service that included personalized course design support. The coaching service also provided a gentle oversight as faculty teach online for the first time. These tips are provided as a community resource to help provide the best teaching and learning experience possible for faculty and learners. Let us know if you find them helpful.

Judith Boettcher and Rita-Marie Conrad, authors and consultants in online learning. Judith can be reached  at judith followed by

Copyright Judith V. Boettcher, 2006 – 2020

  1. eCoaching Tip 1  Interaction and “Virtual Presence” — Being There for Your Students
  2. eCoaching Tip 2  Online Discussions – Why and How of Using Discussion Forums
  3. eCoaching Tip 3 Developing Effective Questions for Online Discussions
  4. eCoaching Tip 4 Managing and Evaluating Discussion Postings
  5. eCoaching Tip 5 Faculty Role in Discussion Forums 
  6. eCoaching Tip 6 Getting to Know Your Students
  7. eCoaching Tip 7 Promoting Peer Interaction and Discussion
  8. eCoaching Tip 8 Setting Up and Structuring Groups
  9. eCoaching Tip 9 Managing and Facilitating Group Projects
  10. eCoaching Tip 10 Assessing Group Projects
  11. eCoaching Tip 11 Sharing Your Virtual Presence with Audio
  12. eCoaching Tip 12 Knowing what students know and don’t know
  13. eCoaching Tip 13 Re-shaping Habits for Learning Online
  14. eCoaching Tip 14 Getting to Know Audio Podcasts
  15. eCoaching Tip 15 Audio – Why Should I Bother?
  16. eCoaching Tip 16  Simple Reminders of Course Beginnings
  17. eCoaching Tip 17 Getting into the Swing of a Course – A Weekly Rhythm
  18. eCoaching Tip 18 Questions and Answers – Upside Down and Inside Out
  19. eCoaching Tip 19 Feedback on Assignments – Hints for Being Timely and Efficient
  20. eCoaching Tip 20 Debriefing Activity with Students – What One Change Would They Recommend? 
  21. eCoaching Tip 21 Five Simple Reminders about Course Beginnings
  22. eCoaching Tip 22 Emails or Announcements — Which Tool Should I Use for What?
  23. eCoaching Tip 23 Strategies for Making Your Students’ Knowledge Visible
  24. eCoaching Tip 24 What do Your Students Think?
  25. eCoaching Tip 25 Discussion Wraps- A Useful “Cognitive Pattern” or  “Collection of Discrete Thought Threads?
  26. eCoaching Tip 26 Discussion Posts that Invite Reflection and Response
  27. eCoaching Tip 27 A Guide for Analyzing Critical Thinking
  28. eCoaching Tip 28 Designing Assessments that Matter to the Learners
  29. eCoaching Tip 29 Closing and Wrapping up a Course with Style
  30. eCoaching Tip 30 Strategies for Wrapping Up Courses
  31. eCoaching Tip 31 Being Present  and Communicating with Your Students
  32. eCoaching Tip 32 Steps in Building a Course Community
  33. eCoaching Tip 33 What Makes a Good Discussion Post?
  34. eCoaching Tip 34 Threaded Discussions and Knowledge Construction
  35. eCoaching Tip 35 Structuring Online Discussions Using Problem Formulation and Resolutions Behaviors
  36. eCoaching Tip 36 Cognitive Presence — Are You Doing It?
  37. eCoaching Tip 37 Pausing, Reflecting and Pruning Strategies
  38. eCoaching Tip 38 Using Projects for Assessment and Best Practices for Helping Learners with Projects
  39. eCoaching Tip 39 A Story of Real Time Gathering
  40. eCoaching Tip 40 Potpourri of “Edge Happenings” — Pick Your Favorite!
  41. eCoaching Tip 41 Stage Three of a Learning Community — Stimulating and Comfortable Camaraderie
  42. eCoaching Tip 42 Seven Strategy Checklist for Your Summer Course
  43. eCoaching Tip 43 Customizing and Personalizing Learning
  44. eCoaching Tip 44 Planning Assessment at Course Beginnings
  45. eCoaching Tip 45 Freshening Your Course with Podcasts — A Source of Authentic and Current Course Content
  46. eCoaching Tip 46 Experts — A Touch of Spice!
  47. eCoaching Tip 47 Journaling, Blogging and Wiki-ing
  48. eCoaching Tip 48 Using “What-If” Scenarios — Flexing Our Minds with Possibilities
  49. eCoaching Tip 49 Learners as Leaders
  50. eCoaching Tip 50 My Teaching Voice— Is it Didactic, Facilitative, Mentoring? Plus List of Ten Best Practices
  51. eCoaching Tip 51 A Garden of Three Presences — Social Presence, Teaching Presence and Cognitive Presence
  52. eCoaching Tip 52 Course Middles and Muddles — Souped-up Conversations Help Build Community
  53. eCoaching Tip 53 Hybrid Teaching and Learning Strategies — Combining Social Networking Features with Blogs and Discussion Boards
  54. eCoaching Tip 54 Course Wrapping with Concept Mapping — A Strategy for Capturing Course Content Meaningfully
  55. eCoaching Tip 55 Getting an Early Start on Cognitive Presence
  56. eCoaching Tip 56 Sharing the Teaching and Learning  – Working with a Teaching Assistant
  57. eCoaching Tip 57 Tools to Help Your Teaching Evals
  58. eCoaching Tip 58 Reaching the Heights of Learning — Authentic Problem-Solving
  59. eCoaching Tip 59 “Are You Reading My Postings?  Do you Know Who I am?” Simple Rules about Feedback in Online Learning
  60. eCoaching Tip 60 Personalizing Learning Content so that Students Grow with the Course Experiences
  61. eCoaching Tip 61 Steps in Memory-Making:  What Teaching Behaviors Make a Difference
  62. eCoaching Tip 62 Course Beginnings— Launch with Confidence and a Picture!
  63. eCoaching Tip 63 Best Design Practices for Quality Course Experiences  — Designing with Threes
  64. eCoaching Tip 64 Three Best Practices in Assessment
  65. eCoaching Tip 65 Best Practices for Wrapping Up Courses
  66. eCoaching Tip 66 Teacher Presence, Social Intelligence and Course Beginnings
  67. eCoaching Tip 67 Developing Rigor in Our Questioning: Eight Intellectual Standards
  68. eCoaching Tip 68 Samples of Blog Projects – Getting Started with Blogs
  69. eCoaching Tip 69 Using Peer Feedback to Increase Confidence and Community
  70. eCoaching Tip 70 Course Beginnings — Identifying and Affirming the Patterns in Your Content
  71. eCoaching Tip 71 When Students Are Away from a Course for a While…
  72. eCoaching Tip 72 Course Closures  — Making a Difference Years Later with Reflection Actions
  73. eCoaching Tip 73 Developing Explicit and Personal Learning Goals
  74. eCoaching Tip 74 Lecturing without Lecturing — Shaping Learning with Your Voice and Expert Knowledge
  75. eCoaching Tip 75 Designing for Evaluating and Creating Levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy
  76. eCoaching Tip 76 Feedback in Discussion Posts – How Soon, How Much and Wrapping Up
  77. eCoaching Tip 77 Concepts – A Focus at Course Endings and Course Beginnings
  78. eCoaching Tip 78 Content Framing and Case Studies: Design Strategies for Summer Intensive Courses
  79. eCoaching Tip 79 Summer Project Strategies – Field Trips and Focusing on One Stage of a Project
  80. eCoaching Tip 80 Course Beginnings Checklist and Ways of “Being There” for Your Students
  81. eCoaching Tip 81 Using Expert Stories as Vicarious Practice
  82. eCoaching Tip 82 Three Scenarios for Engaging Students with Rubrics
  83. eCoaching Tip 83 Tips for Making Your Grading Time Efficient and Formative
  84. eCoaching Tip 84 Have You Thought of Trying This? And Course Beginnings
  85. eCoaching Tip 85 Using  Bookending to Add Structure and Meaning to Your Course
  86. eCoaching Tip 86 Four Strategies for Supporting Learners on Their Expertise Journey
  87. eCoaching Tip 87 The Learning Power of Problems and Cases
  88. eCoaching Tip 88 High-Impact Practices for Summer Courses: Reflections and Patterns
  89. eCoaching Tip 89 A Brave New World: Getting Started with Audio
  90. eCoaching Tip 90 Summer Course Wraps with Impact – What are the Big Ideas?
  91. eCoaching Tip 91 Getting Excited about Bb 9.1 — What Works Well and What Do Faculty Like?
  92. eCoaching Tip 92 Collaborating with Groups of Two or Three – Moving beyond the Discussion Board
  93. eCoaching Tip 93 Mostly Free Tools and Resources for Learning – Have You Seen These?
  94. eCoaching Tip 94 Creating a Syllabus that Jumpstarts Learning
  95. eCoaching Tip 95 Learning Guides – Expanding Your Teaching Presence
  96. eCoaching Tip 96 How Expert Resources can Support Learning
  97. eCoaching Tip 97 An FAQ on Getting Started with and Using the Wimba Live Classroom
  98. eCoaching Tip 98 Best Practices for Summer Courses – You Might Like One of These
  99. eCoaching Tip 99 Three Quick and Easy Ideas for Wrapping Up Summer Courses
  100. eCoaching Tip 100 Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online 2013
  101. eCoaching Tip 101 The Power of Choice to Energize Learning
  102. eCoaching Tip 102 Teaching with Learning Partners and Open and Direct Discussion Forums
  103. eCoaching Tip 103 Best Discussion Forums Ever
  104. eCoaching Tip 104 Favorite Assessment Strategies — What is Yours?
  105. eCoaching Tip 105 Power Questioning Strategies for More Meaningful Discussions
  106. eCoaching Tip 106 Core Concepts of a Course — Do You Know Yours?
  107. eCoaching Tip 107 Best Practices for Teaching and Reaching Your Military Learners
  108. eCoaching Tip 108 Best Practices for Summer Courses
  109. eCoaching Tip 109 Focusing Learning with Course Wraps in the Summer
  110. eCoaching Tip 110 Presence in Online Courses – How are You Present to Your Students?
  111. eCoaching Tip 111 Generating Energy and Purpose Using Specific Learning Goals
  112. eCoaching Tip 112 Bb Collaborate – Add Variety and Spark with Real-Time Interaction
  113. eCoaching Tip 113 Increasing Your Teaching Presence in Three Engaging Ways
  114. eCoaching Tip 114 Difficult Students Online? What Do You do?
  115. eCoaching Tip 115 Engaging Students with “What’s Happening This Week” Instructor Postings
  116. eCoaching Tip 116 Substantive Feedback – Doing it Wisely and Well
  117. eCoaching Tip 117 Do Your Assignments — and Learning Activities — Really Engage Your Students?
  118. eCoaching Tip 118 Using Case-Studies in Online Courses — Making Content Real
  119. eCoaching Tip 119 Re-energizing Ideas for Learning plus a Look Back at Best Practices for Teaching Military Learners
  120. eCoaching Tip 120 Best Practices for Accelerated Courses Revisited Plus a Look at the Maker Movement