Easy Tips to Make Office Hours "Connection" Hours

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"Here Are 10 Quick Tips to Make Office Hours Powerful Learning Opportunities" (post) offers quick and easy ideas to not "squander office hours ... [but] [m]ake them the richest learning opportunities for students ... turning office hours into connection hours."

1. "Put your office hour date, time, and location in your email signature."

2. "Put your office hour info on reminder slides at the start and end of class."

3. "Have students retrieve your office hour info (and space it out) on quizzes."

4. "Describe what office hours are (and are not) in class and on the syllabus." 

  • "Give examples of things you like to talk about."
  • "[R]ename them ('student hours,' 'connect hours')."
  • "[H]ost them online (e.g., via Zoom, Google Docs, Twitter, [Virtual Classroom], etc.)."

5. "Ask questions and listen."

  • "Ask not just what they’re majoring in, but why. Ask if they did anything fun last weekend. Ask what other classes they’re taking this semester. Ask if they have any pets. Ask about their favorite Netflix/Hulu shows. Ask about whether they like to cook and if they have a favorite food."
  • "'[S]mall talk' topics ... open up a flow of conversation more quickly than you might expect."
  • "[S]hare your thoughts, too. Make the conversation a two-way street."
  • "You don’t have to share anything personal ... but foods, TV shows, and where you’d like to travel to next are all fun topics."
  • "Think of it like sharing recommendations and receiving recommendations."

6. "Create 'teaser' topics." 

  • "Something come up in class that would be fun to discuss, but you don't have time?"
  • "Give students a teaser and tell them to come to office hours for more." 

7. "Schedule your office hours in a block (e.g., two hours straight), rather than an hour here and an hour there." 

  • "[S]tudents don't have to remember multiple dates and times."
  • "[S]chedule office hours after class (when students typically have follow up questions), rather than before class."

8. "Make office hours no-stakes." 

  • "[O]ffice hours are optional – but they are an option."
  • "It's an opportunity for students to participate outside of class."

9. Reinforce the benefits of office hours in class.

10. "Play music."

  • "It sets the tone and it's a great conversation starter."
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