University of Wisconsin–Madison

March 2016 U-CLaSS: What Works for Office Hours?

The March 2016 U-CLaSS chat focused on rethinking traditional office hours as “student hours”—as a time set aside for students. Faculty were on hand looking for student input on how to make that time more effective. When should student hours be held? What places on campus are most inviting for student hours? What should the format be? What do students hope to gain from student hours?

Here are what the students’ suggested:

  • Be welcoming. Attitude is important.
  • Acknowledge that both student and instructors’ times are valuable.
  • Promote “student/office” hours in class
  • Specify the type of hours: one-to-on vs group hours.
  • Survey students on their availability. Be willing to make individual appointments.
  • Expand office hours as needed.
  • Be willing to get to know us.
  • Make space for us (we need a place to sit).
  • Don’t be distracted. Give us your full attention.
  • Candy doesn’t hurt! (but no peanuts).

Want More Details? A lot of great ideas were generated in small groups!

IMG_20160304_140347 additional notes from students IMG_20160304_142108 IMG_20160304_140447IMG_20160304_140427

1 thought on “March 2016 U-CLaSS: What Works for Office Hours?”

  1. Thanks, John! Some great insights “from the source.” I’m going to steal from these 🙂

    Additional bits & pieces that can work:

    * If you and student are comfortable (and weather cooperates), have a “walking meeting” for your office hours appointment.
    * Certainly take advantage of any/many of the school/SCID-based cafes
    * Ease up on email policies…..too many parameters (e.g., “I don’t respond to emails after 5pm”) may contribute to students’ feeling intimidated to make an appointment and/or approach you for office hours.
    * Working with 150+ undergraduate students per-semester has taught me a thing or two about this time of life we refer to as “emerging adulthood.” Some days, students are more “emerging” than “adult,” and vice-versa. Embracing this knowledge of such a critical time in their human development can help guide us with the best approaches to office hours.

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