Teacher Instruction: Office/Student Hours


Office hours, sometimes referred to as student hours, are 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

Student's lives inside and outside the classroom are full of challenges. Office/student hours are one of many resources available for supporting students’ well-being and success. However, students may not take advantage of these resources for several 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, in 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.

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