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Academic Coaches for DL Courses

What is an Academic Coach?

Academic Coaches (AC) work under the direction of the instructor of record and provide essential support to the instructor. Coaches are typically the students' initial and primary contact for the course and provide a variety of services to the support the students and the instructor.


Programs are encouraged to use coaches in courses in which they can have a positive impact on access and student learning. Multiple coaches may be used in large enrollment courses.

What is the role of an Academic Coach?

The role of an Academic Coach is to assist the course instructor with the facilitation and maintenance of the course.

For Instructors

The role of the AC includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Communicating with the instructor as needed
  • Grading assignments, assessments, and discussions
  • Participating in asynchronous and synchronous discussions
  • Documenting student comments, questions, and concerns

For Students

The role of the AC includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Maintaining a safe, comfortable online learning environment
  • Sending out daily or weekly announcements to keep students informed about upcoming assignments or changes to the course
  • Assisting students with technical and content related questions
  • Grading students’ assignments and providing feedback within a specified timeframe
For more information about the roles the AC can assume, view the Academic Coaches Information Sheet.


Resources for Faculty: It is recommended that instructors who are working with an Academic Coach schedule an appointment with an Instructional Designer 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.

How do I hire an Academic Coach?

Academic Coaches can be existing, qualified students, but can also be individuals from outside the university including former students.

Departments should hire academic coaches using the student/OPS hiring process.
  • If the academic coach has not worked at UNF before, use the OASys hiring module to create a job.
  • If the academic coach has worked at UNF in some capacity, create an ePAF.
  • Make sure the academic coach’s timesheet will be routed to the correct department by specifying the appropriate timesheet org. code. This should be included in the notes of the hiring proposal (ex. “Timesheet Org: XXXXXX”) or if you are hiring multiple coaches, you may send HR a spreadsheet of all coaches for the semester with the appropriate timesheet org. that should be associated.

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

For fully online programs: UNF has partnered with Instructional Connections to provide Academic Coaches for fully online programs. Instructional Connections will find qualified individuals (based on qualifications the program sets such as minimum degrees, years of experience in the field, licensure, etc.) and then the department can select from the candidates provided. If a department is interested in this service, the department chair can contact Patrice Kapcio.

How much do I pay an Academic Coach?

Coaches are paid on an hourly basis and the amount is at the discretion of the college or department.


To support the continued development and delivery of distance learning (DL) courses, funding is available annually to each college for, among other things, academic coaches to be used in DL courses.


Questions about the availability of DL funds or coach pay should be referred to the college dean’s office.

What training is available for an Academic Coach?

Academic Coaches should complete CIRT's Canvas Orientation for Academic Coaches training course. The course provides FERPA guidelines and more details about the Academic Coach role, as well as covering 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.


To ensure that an Academic Coach can get access to the course, follow these simple instructions:

  • The department should send a request to with the names and N#s of individuals who will serve as coaches.
  • Indicate in the body of the email that you are requesting enrollment in the Canvas Orientation for Academic Coaches course.