Office hours afford students opportunities to meet with instructors one-on-one to ask in-depth questions about concerns or interests that cannot be fully discussed in class, or to seek academic advisement related to their course of study. Not only can these interactions lead to higher student achievement, they also directly address students’ needs, encourage students to engage in class and help to foster students’ sense of community and connection to the university. When teaching remotely, consider providing virtual office hours to give students opportunities to connect, collaborate and ask questions.
- Utilize video conferencing
Online video conferencing gives you the opportunity to host virtual face-to-face meetings with your students, which can include sharing your screen to review information or collaborating on a project. Elon offers Webex, Zoom and Microsoft Teams as flexible, video conferencing tools that can be used for virtual office hours.
- Consider time zones when scheduling
It is helpful to pay attention to time zones when scheduling your virtual office hours, so those time frames offer reasonable options for all students.
- Avoid over-scheduling
If you teach multiple courses and sections, you may want to establish office hours for each unique subset of students to avoid having multiple students “show up” for office hours at the same time, particularly during peak times like midterms or final exams. Consider communicating time limits for each student and joining together multiple students who may be asking similar questions.
- Alternative for limited Internet access
If a student has limited access to Wi-Fi, Webex and Zoom offer audio call-in features so students can join the call without an internet connection.