Teacher Instruction: Office/Student Hours


Office hours, sometimes refer to as student hours, is time outside of class to meet with instructors and teaching assistants. The hours are included in the syllabus. The meetings are typically student-driven and attendance is not required. Students may bring questions, ask for feedback, seek help or clarification, engage in conversation, discuss future opportunities, etc.

Strategies to Encourage Attendance

College is full of challenges. Office/student hours are one of many resources available for supporting students’ wellbeing and success. However, students may not take take advantage of these resources for a number of reasons. Examples include being perceived as inadequate or simply not knowing asking for help is normal and encouraged. 

Strategies include:

  • Develop a classroom culture that normalizes asking for help. Consider including a statement about asking for help in the syllabus. Also, remind students of the statement.
  • Consider sharing a personal story about how you’ve asked for help. This can model expectations and set the stage for a culture of asking for help.
  • Let students know how struggling is part of the college experience. College is supposed to be full of challenges that can be at times frustrating. Struggling can happen at any time and doesn’t mean they don’t belong in the class or institution.
  • If no one signs up, consider reminding students that office hours exist for them. These hours are not for the instructor and teaching assistants.
  • Be cognizant of inclusion: 
    • Prepare for meetings by using correct name pronunciation and pronouns. Feel free to use Brightspace’s Pronunciations & Pronoun tool under More Tools.
    • If a student needs extra privacy, offer an option to request it. For example, iin the syllabus, ask students to email with this request.
  • Preparation tips for students:
    • Prepare and bring questions or specific content to discuss.
    • Seek assistance in advance of deadlines.
    • In addition to attending office/student hours, consider also seeking study groups and tutoring.

Ways to Host Office/Student Hours

Virtual Hours (Google Spaces, Calendly, and Zoom are options below)

  • Virtual hours offer flexibility. 
  • Hours can be an open block of time or split into intervals.
  • Consider being open to chat or emails at that time too. Give students an expectation for your response time. In additional to replying to the student, consider later posting a compilation of response(s) in one Announcement to the whole class

Please note:  you can choose to offer both virtual and in-person meeting times.

Google Spaces

  • Google Spaces offers students the option of both chat and/or video. Spaces starts out as chat, but a Google Meet video link can easily be created. 
  • Providing chat and/or video options promotes choice and flexibility
  • Remind students that it’s a community space. If a student needs extra privacy  they can request a one-on-one new chat outside of the Google Space.
  • Visit Google Chat and create a space (name it your course title).
  • Set the space’s permission to NYU and share the link in your syllabus and Brightspace course.
  • For questions and help setting it up with you, email steinhardt.technology@nyu.edu.

Google Appintment Schedule

  • Create a new Google event calendar.
  • Upload the sharing permissions.
  • Add an “appointment to the calendar” by selecting a time slot.
  • Then, select the top tab “appointment scheduler”
  • Recurring dates and times can be setup with custom slots.


  • Calendly is a scheduler tool that supports secure one-on-one or group Zoom meeting signups.
  • Custom office/student hour ranges can be setup with choice of intervals (e.g. 15 minute slots within a specific 2 hour window each Tuesday and Friday). 
  • When a student signs up, an automatic Zoom link and Calendar invite are generated and sent to the instructor and student. This will block out the time slot from other students.
  • The same Calendly can be used for multiple courses. 
  • For questions and help setting up Calendly events, email steinhardt.technology@nyu.edu.


  • Create a reusable Zoom link with the meeting room enabled.
  • Share this link in your syllabus and Brightspace.
  • During office/student hours, either 
    • Request students first contact you to schedule a meeting.
    • Leave the the Zoom meeting open and wait for attendance.

In-Person Hours

  • Include the location and hours’ date and time in the syllabus.  Please note:  you can choose to offer both virtual and in-person meeting times.
  • Hours location can be a choice  your office, cafe, or other close-by location. However, it might be best for the student to decide based on level of privacy needed.
  • Hours are typically an hour once a week. You can offer the option of other meeting times possible upon request and approval.

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