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UNF Online

Academic Coaches for DL Courses

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What is an Academic Coach?

Academic Coaches (AC) for DL Courses are a type of instructional support for online courses, commonly referred to as DL Coaches. DL Coaches work under the direction of the instructor of record and assist the instructor with the facilitation and maintenance of the course.

Departments are encouraged to use DL Coaches in courses in which they can have a positive impact on access and student learning by facilitating engagement. Multiple coaches may be used in large enrollment courses. Generally, DL Coaches are used in courses with at least 30 enrolled students.

UNF Online provides each college with annual funding for DL Coaches based upon their proportion of the University’s DL SCH.


Information for Instructors

The role of the Academic DL Coach includes, but is not limited to, communicating with the instructor as needed, posting announcements, assisting students with technical questions, participating in discussions, and documenting student comments, questions, and concerns.

For more information about the tasks that can be assigned to DL Coaches, view the  Tasks for Academic DL Coaches document.

Instructors working with DL Coaches can schedule an appointment with an Instructional Designer in CIRT to discuss best practices for using a coach in their course. The instructional designer can assist the instructor with developing a Course Facilitation Plan that will guide their work with the academic coach.

Instructors can add DL Coaches to their course with the TA role.


Academic DL Coach Training

Academic DL Coaches should complete CIRT's Canvas Orientation for Academic Coaches training course. The course provides FERPA guidelines and more details about the Academic DL Coach role, as well as a basic overview of Canvas and best practices for communication and facilitation. The training is designed to help coaches become more familiar with the tools available to instructors and should take approximately 3 hours to complete.

To enroll an Academic DL Coach in the training course and verify their completion, follow these instructions:

Icon of Number 1Department sends a request to cirtlab@unf.edu with the names and N#s of individuals who will serve as coaches for the academic department.
Icon of Number 2Indicate in the body of the email that you are requesting enrollment in the Canvas Orientation for Academic DL Coaches course.
Icon of Number 3Instruct new DL Coaches to send you a PDF or screenshot of the Success Message they receive upon successful course completion.

Information for Hiring Departments

DL Coaches should be student employees. There may be circumstances under which a department considers hiring a retired employee or current staff member in the coach role. Please consult with HR on the correct process in those cases.

Acceptable Job Titles: DL Coach, Online Coach, Graduate Assistant

Do Not Use: Teaching Assistant, Grader, Learning Coach, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Instructional Associate

DL Coach pay ranges from $10- $15 per hour. Course level, credit hours, and type of work play a role in the assigned hourly rate and hours per week. For example, positions requiring more cognitive effort on the part of the DL Coach (e.g., online meeting with students vs. counting how many responses each student left in the weekly discussion board) could justify a higher hourly rate.

Other questions about hiring an academic coach should be referred to Human Resources. Hiring resources are also located on the HR website.

Undergraduate and other non-GA DL Coaches


DL Coaches typically work 5-10 hours per week. Assigned hours must comply with all UNF HR regulations.

Most DL Coaches should submit timesheets. In some pay periods they may not work their full hours but they should not exceed their allotted hours per period. If the assigned work cannot be completed in allotted hours, coaches should talk to their assigned instructor about restructuring their time/work.

DL Coach Graduate Assistants


Semester stipends for Graduate Assistants can be set using normal GA pay practices. For example, if the department wants to pay them $10 per hour and they’ll work 20 biweekly hours for 9 pay periods: $10x20x9 = $1800 stipend. HR provides student ePAF dates.

In accordance with university regulations, a graduate student hired to work as a DL Coach/Graduate Assistant at a minimum of .25 FTE (minimum of 10 hours per week), who is, for tuition purposes, an out-of-state resident, will have the out-of-state tuition reduction applied to their account. This tuition reduction is only good for semesters during which the student is employed. See the Graduate School’s Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships webpage for more information about eligibility requirements.