Online office hours are similar to in-person office hours where you can talk to your instructor and ask questions about the course materials, lectures and assignments. Online office hours take place virtually through Quercus, Zoom or other technology as identified in your syllabus.
It can be intimidating to attend office hours or speak with your professor/TA. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of online office hours:
- Plan ahead
Make note of questions that you think of during lectures or while you’re studying. Use a Word document to note down questions so that you can easily refer to them while you are speaking to your instructor.
- Attend group online office hours
Many professors and TAs offer group online office hours. These allow you to listen to your classmates as they ask questions and share comments. You likely find that you have similar questions and ideas.
- Join a Recognized Study Group (RSG)
Joining an RSG can help you to become more comfortable and confident attending office hours. Plan to attend office hours together with your group and work on some questions in advance during your group study sessions.
- Be yourself
Professors want to get to know you, as well. Office hours are a great way to learn more about your instructor’s research. Many opportunities can come from attending office hours such as work opportunities, research assistant opportunities or reference letters for graduate school.
Office Hour Styles
Online office hours can be flexible and will vary by course. Check your course syllabus or Quercus for instructions and your instructor’s schedule. The three main styles of online office hours are:
- Scheduled times your instructor is online and available for questions and discussion.
- Online drop-in times when students are permitted to join at a time that suits them. This is a great option for groups of friends or study groups.
- If you’re unable to attend scheduled office hours, one-on-one virtual meetings or live chats at a time that suits both you and your instructor.
Whatever style your instructor chooses, know that online office hours are for you. You can use office hours regularly to check-in and make sure you’re understanding course material or ask for feedback on an assignment that you’ve been working on.