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Dissertation eCoach

The Dissertation eCoach is an interactive digital messaging tool that assists graduate students transitioning from coursework to dissertation writing. It draws on dissertation writing strategies to affect graduate students’ writing practices. The Dissertation eCoach is a University of Michigan platform, developed by Sweetland faculty and supported by funds from the Office of Academic Innovation, the Rackham Graduate School, the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, and the Office of the Provost. Through this portal, graduate students who are starting to write their dissertation receive personalized messages that influence a positive writing process. The personalized feedback that students receive will help them to engage with more effective writing practices, resulting in a more enjoyable dissertation writing experience.

The Dissertation eCoach offers feedback on productive writing behaviors, informed by dissertation writing strategies developed by the Sweetland Center for Writing, students’ individual characteristics, and responses to weekly lightning surveys on students’ writing goals. Specifically, the Dissertation eCoach responds to challenges in productivity in areas such as:

  • The structure of a dissertation, and getting started with the first chapter
  • Improving writing habits, and finding the time to write
  • Crafting a solid argument, and revising for content
  • Cultivating an academic voice and style
  • Balancing work and life

Is The Dissertation eCoach Right for You?

If you are a graduate student who recently reached candidacy, and you are writing the first chapter of your dissertation, then the Dissertation eCoach is right for you! Its purpose is to engage early dissertation writers in effective writing habits.

How Does It Work?

To start, you will take a survey that tells us something about who you are as a writer. Your responses will help us to tailor our feedback to your needs, so that it is as personalized as possible to meet your individual needs as a writer.

Every week on Mondays we will post a message with some general information on that week's focus. On Thursdays, you will be asked to take a very brief survey asking you about your writing goals. Right after you submit your response, you will receive a personalized message that offers you suggestions about how to address your writing concerns and goals. 


Benefits of the Dissertation Coach include:

  • Receiving tailored, personalized feedback to help you improve your experience with writing the dissertation
  • Transitioning from a physical to an online space to receive personalized feedback
  • Offering you accountability and suggestions to find chances to work productively
  • Providing you with a sense of community while working from remote locations
  • Establishing check-ins with Sweetland faculty to gauge your productivity and emotional well-being

Application Process

This is the Dissertation eCoach page:

You can enroll in the Dissertation eCoach between August 31 and September 6 using this link:

Participants who complete the Dissertation eCoach experience will receive a $10 gift card from Literati Bookstore at the end of the semester.