eCoaching Tip 50 My Teaching Voice— Is it Didactic, Facilitative, Mentoring? Plus List of Ten Best Practices

September 20 2007 (Revised lightly Nov 30 2019)

eCoaching Tip 50: My Teaching Voice— Is it Didactic, Facilitative, Mentoring? Plus List of Ten Best Practices

Note:  This was the first tip for a fall semester in 2007, now revised for general use at any time.   For those of you who are new or almost new to the art and science of teaching online, here is a link to a set of Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online.  If you are an experienced online faculty member, you might enjoy a quick scan of the list of practices below.

Which Voice Do I Mostly Use in My Course – Didactic, Facilitative, Mentoring?

Here is just a quick thought about “voices” in online courses. We often talk about the three dialogues in online courses: the dialogue between faculty and students; between students, and between the students and the whole abundance of possible course resources (readings, online resources, experts, etc.)  The particular dialogue between faculty and students varies from a didactic voice to a facilitative voice to a mentoring voice.

Now is a good time to think about the “voice” that you use with your students. The role that teachers have with their students in an online class can often get stuck in the didactic mode, where we are “talking at” our students, rather than listening, hearing and truly responding and then probing as to what a student may be thinking or trying to articulate.  What voice do you use when coaching a student through a project?  What voice do you use on the discussion board — encouraging, probing, inviting?  Is it the kind of voice you use in a one-on-one situation?  For a whole class session?

Who is your best role model for a good voice in teaching? I like to think about Merlin and how he instructed and challenged young Arthur in the hope of preparing Arthur to be a great king.  Which of your voices do your students find effective? And how and how often do we make room to hear the “voices” of our students.  Enjoy thinking about all your possible voices of teaching and learning.

Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online.

Here is a quick reminder list of a set of ten best practices for teaching online that is good for posting on a wall somewhere.

Best Practice 1: Be present at the course site

Best Practice 2: Create a supportive online course community.

Best Practice 3:  Share a set of very clear expectations for your students and for yourself as to  (1) how you will communicate and (2) how much time students should be working on the course each week.

Best Practice 4: Use a variety of large group, small group, and individual work experiences.

Best Practice 5: Use both synchronous and asynchronous activities.

Best Practice 6:  Early in the term – about week 3, ask for informal feedback on “How is the course going?” and “Do you have any suggestions?”

Best Practice 7: Prepare Discussion Posts that Invite Questions, Discussions, Reflections and Responses.

Best Practice 8: Focus on content resources and applications and links to current events and examples that are easily accessed from learner’s computers.

Best Practice 9: Combine core concept learning with customized and personalized learning.

Best Practice 10:  Plan a good closing and wrap activity for the course, as appropriate.


Boettcher, J. V. (2007-2019). Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online – A 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