eCoaching Tip 42 Seven Strategy Checklist for Your Summer Course

April 25 2007  Summer Tip #1 (Checked Nov 21 2019)

 E-Coaching Tip 42 Seven Strategy Checklist for Your Summer Course

Summer courses always feel rushed and compressed. There seems to be little time to just wonder and reflect on what the content means to your learners and how well your learners are taking it all in.

Here is a checklist of strategies that slow down the feeling of being rushed, and reduce the pressure to cover everything in a textbook or syllabus.  Authentic and satisfying learning can happen in the summer by using just one or two of these strategies.

Seven Strategy Checklist for Your Summer Course

Here are seven strategies for increasing satisfaction and learning in summer courses. Give yourself a quick review and see how many of these strategies you are currently using in your course.  Notice that most of these strategies involve enhancing the communication and dialogue in the course community.

For example, Tip Number 5,  “Success is in the details” suggests that it is almost impossible to be too explicit or too clear about expectations. This advice has been surfacing very frequently — often as a result of feedback from students.

Here are the seven strategies with a few comments and observations about each.

  1. Use role-playing exercises to engage students. This strategy reminds us that learning experiences that require students to be active, creative and applying content are more effective than the passive activities of reading and listening.  For example, this might also translate into using case studies and “what if” scenarios. This also means placing students in context and giving them choices and decisions to make.
  2. Design peer review experiences into your course.  Peer review of work provides authentic audience and valuable feedback.  This strategy    coaches learners in how to review other learners’ work. This helps learners get to know each other, and to know their learning goals.  Peer review can also reduce assessment time for you.  The fact that you save time is a great by-product of this learning strategy!
  3. Assign discussion questions that require student participation. This strategy encourages focus and active participation with faculty and learners.  As a reminder, the forum or discussion space is the online equivalent of class discussion, only with the added benefit of time for reading and reflection before responding.
  4. Use frequent quizzes and short answer essays to keep students engaged and reduce procrastination. It is easy to forget how effective frequent quizzes are for the basic facts and core principles that are the foundation of authentic, evaluative and creative learning.   Course management systems of all types make it easy for you to use these tools, once they are developed.
  5. Remember that success is in the details. As noted above, this means providing lots of directions  and being very clear and explicit about expectations. This is part of your teaching presence and also a way of students hearing your voice and benefitting from your expertise. Particularly important for summer courses is the best practice of a detailed and clear syllabus with dates and clear instructions for assignments, including rubrics.
  6. Plan for and use learner partners or small teams. This strategy encourages teamwork and networking while enabling students to customize more of the learning to their own interests and needs.
  7. Be sure to control pace of the course. This can mean closing units after the allotted time, making quizzes available/unavailable, and gentle, but firm reminders about completing task assignments on schedule and in sync with the course community. This is particularly important in short, intensive summer terms or eight-week terms.

Here is a final thought as we wrap up our review of these strategies.

Learning research suggests that learning activities that require students to be active and doing are essential for lasting learning.  This means that when given a choice between “covering material” and coaching students in active experiences, that coaching students may be the better choice.  Of course there are always exceptions, depending on course goals and designs.

Selected References

Boettcher, J. V. (2007-2019). Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online. Quick Guide for New Online faculty. Retrieved from

Note: These eCoaching tips were initially developed for faculty in the School of Leadership & Professional Advancement at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. This library of tips has been organized, expanded and updated  in the second edition of the  book, The Online Teaching Survival Guide: Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips (2016) coauthored with Rita-Marie Conrad. Judith can be reached judith followed by

Copyright Judith V. Boettcher, 2006 – 2019