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Scheduling Office Hours

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PWR instructors teaching two sections hold a minimum of three office hours per week (in addition to conferences); instructors teaching one section must hold a minimum of two office hours per week.  List your office hours (and your office location) on your syllabus, make sure they are updated on your PWR online profile, and also fill in the office hours Google Doc when our Student Services Specialist prompts you.

Here’s what to consider in setting up your office hours:

  • A spring 2020 survey of students participating in remote learning indicated that having "by appointment" office hours actually creates a barrier to participation.  For this reason, all instructors should hold their office hours at a standing time every week -- the "by appointment" option can be a supplement to these standing hours.
  • If you share an office, consult with your office mate so you can schedule office hours that don’t coincide.  Some instructors hold office hours at other locations. The CoHo, Coupa Cafe,and the Stanford Bookstore are some options.
  • Hold office hours on separate days to maximize the likelihood that students will be able to come.  Most classes at Stanford are scheduled to meet at the same time on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Ideally, you should set up one of your office hour time slots on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, and another on Tuesday or Thursday.
  • Think about your students' schedules. For instance, if you have student athletes in your class, they may not be able to make late afternoon office hours when they have practice.  Consider polling students early in the quarter to make sure you've set up times that the majority of the class can actually attend.
  • Hold your office hours faithfully--students should be able to find you during your scheduled hours.  Avoid canceling office hours since students may find it hard to keep up with the sequence of assignments if they are unable to meet with you. 
  • If you need to miss an office hour, announce this in class ahead of time if possible and set up an alternative make-up time for the missed hours; if you have an unexpected emergency you can notify them over email or through Canvas.  Also call or email our Student Services Specialist so he can put a notice on your door or in your cube.
  • Some instructors leave their office hours open for drop-ins; others encourage students to sign up for specific times for office hours (in 15, 20, or 30-minute increments), the same way they would for scheduled conferences. Either model can work effectively. 
  • If you hold office hours at a time when the 3rd floor door is locked, do not prop the door open.  This is out of consideration for others on the floor as well as for your own safety.  As an alternative, post a note on the door with your phone number so that students can call you from the callbox right by the 3rd floor door when they arrive for their conference.
  • If you hold office hours or student conferences in the evening, please consider safety–yours and your students’– even after the conference is over.  Two especially important resources for you to remember (for your students’ evening walks back to the dorm or for your own walk back to your car) are:
    • Pedestrian Safety Zone,” a website and pamphlet issued by the Stanford Department of Public Safety (3-9633), contains a map displaying the locations of the best-lighted paths and the blue emergency call boxes on campus. 
    • SURE Escort Service (650-725-SURE).  Call SURE to schedule an escort to meet you at a designated time and location.
  • You may opt to hold additional virtual office hours in an online environment (such as a Google Hangout) beyond your 2-3 hours a week.  Please note that, in general, virtual office hours should supplement, not replace, in-person office hours (except in cases of personal of medical conditions that have been discussed with PWR leadership). 

See also ideas for effective office hours

See also Teaching Commons great suggestions for virtual office hours