Virtual Office Hours
In-person office hours are important for student learning and engagement, yet risk serving only students who live close to campus and have flexible schedules. Many students work, have family responsibilities, and long commutes to class. To provide all your students with greater access, while using your time more efficiently, try moving your office hours online.
Benefits of Virtual Office Hours
- Virtual office hours can take place at times that are convenient for you and more viable for your students.
- Students can “pop” online during your online office hour, ask a quick question, and go back to work. This saves time for both you and your students.
- Small groups of students can participate in the same office hour conversation: fun for them and a time-saver for you.
- Online hours can reduce the number of individual emails on the same topic.
- Shy students might be more willing to participate if they can do so online, rather than in person.
Step 1: Choose a Tool
Zoom is a great tool for online office hours because it is already inside Canvas. Zoom does require a student download. You can set up individual or group office hours using Zoom.
Teams is a great tool for online office hours and requires no download. You can set up individual or group office hours using Teams.
Canvas Discussion Boards
A discussion board can be used for asynchronous office hours. Discussions support ongoing dialog within different topic threads, the most important of which can be “pinned” to the top for all to see. Discussions can be especially useful for posting FAQ’s in large courses as a way of cutting down on repeat question-and-answer emails.
Step 2: Determine Meeting Times
Decide on a time when you can be available online, e.g., Tuesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Announce this time and instructions for connecting to the online platform in class, on the syllabus, and in a Canvas announcement.
Step 3: Connect with Students
Confirm that students know when the office hour is and how to participate online. If you are using Zoom be sure to tell students they must download Zoom.