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Rethinking Office Hours

Summary

How might you and your students move beyond office hours with passive, question-answering, superficial interaction, and instead use that time together to propel students to the next level in their learning? This short article offers suggestions from three different areas:
  • Identify, specify and act - develop critical thinking questions, go over writing weaknesses, discuss class structure, discuss student study habits, etc.
  • Personalization - ask questions to understand their self perceived learning needs, allow them to share personal experiences and stories
  • Waiting and the Office - Make your office an inviting and relaxing area so that students can be at ease. If a student has a question about something general, raise your voice enough that those waiting will hear your answer. 

Key Points

  • Office hours are a resource that can be improved with simple changes
  • The time before and after a class can also be a form of "office hours" if used correctly
  • Office hours are very helpful for international students, those who write poorly, advanced students, and potential graduate students. 

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