Outside-of-the-box Office Hours

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Thanks to technology, office hours are no longer limited to drop-in or door sign-up options. As we’ve written about before, digital office hours are now an option, as is by-appointment-only. (You can review here what we’ve covered on that topic before.) Additionally, some of my colleagues are having success with group office hour sessions, in which the professor is available in a large classroom and students are welcome to drop by and work in groups or speak with the professor individually. It takes the “office” out of “office hour” to good effect.

As you plan ahead for the fall semester, consider this question: what balance of office hour options could work for you and your students? This could change according to semester, teaching/service load, research priorities, and even life outside of your institution. It’s worth revisiting regularly to consider what would work best for you and your students. Personally, this fall I’m going to go for a mix of in-person, both drop-in and scheduled, and online (via Google Hangout). The latter is a new option for me, although a trial run during a severe storm last semester, when I wanted to avoid heading to campus during an intense storm, worked very well. And I have an equal balance of students who say they prefer to schedule appointments or have the option to drop-in.

So let us know in the comments: what are your office hours plans for this semester? What has worked well for you in the past and what hasn’t? And be sure to check out the open thread Wednesday post on encouraging students to come to office hours.

[Image Creative Commons licensed / Flickr user Joe Schlabotnik]

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