Virtual Office Hours

If your class moves online due to COVID-19, you may want to set Virtual Office Hours for your students so you can address their questions or concerns about the requirements of your course, and any changes you may implement to move your course online.

How to Set Up & Communicate Virtual Office Hours

  1. Availability: Determine the best time to hold virtual office hours every week based on your availability. For example, Tues-Thurs 2-4 pm CST.
  2. Technology: Determine your preferred mode of communication (email, phone) as well as your preferred technology for meeting virtually (Google Hangouts, Skype, WebEx, Zoom, etc.).
    • Some instructors don’t mind sharing their cellphone numbers with students. If this is not an option for you, you can set up a free Google Voice Number to receive phone calls from your students.
    • For holding virtual meetings, you can use the platform you already have access to and are familiar with, such as Skype, WebEx, Zoom, etc. Or, you can use the freely available Google Meet/Google Hangouts to schedule online meetings. You can visit meet.google.com to schedule a meeting right away (you will need a Google account).
  3. Scheduling: Determine how you want students to schedule a virtual meeting with you. Some options:
    • You can have students email or call you to set up a virtual meeting, and then hold the meeting at the designated time with the student, or
    • You can ask ALL your students to schedule a one-on-one virtual meeting with you, so you can check in with them, reassure them, and/or answer any questions or concerns, or
    • You can have open office hours, aka be present virtually in an online area like Google Hangouts or set up a Zoom meeting, and have multiple students join. Just like a group of students who would walk into your office.
    • Make sure you have clear instructions and expectations for students no matter which option you choose.
  4. Communication: Communicate all details about your virtual office hours to students via various mediums: