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What to Do About Office Hours (Part 2)

office desk with lamp, calendar, notes, notebook, pen, laptop, and coffee

This is the second part in a three-part series on office hours. Catch up on part one now and sign up for our newsletter, so you don't miss part three!


In the first part of this series, we did a little time traveling to think about our student experiences with office hours. Our goal was to use our reflections to help us to rethink and refresh our approach to office hours for our own students. In this part of the series, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the design of office hours by using the ADDIE Approach to course design.

Next, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the design of office hours by using the ADDIE Approach to course design. ADDIE stands for analyze, design, develop, implement, and assess, and it's one of the foundational approaches to course design. Whether or not you’re familiar with the approach, you’ve certainly used each phase of it when designing and teaching your courses. Systematizing this process can help us to holistically build and refresh our courses as well as the individual elements that create them.

When it comes to office hours, let’s ask ourselves some questions about what they are and what they might be:

Analyze. What kind(s) of help do your students typically need? How, when, and where would they prefer to access this support? How can you most effectively deliver this support? What challenges or requirements do you need to consider? How will you define “success” or “effectiveness”?

Design. How will you refer to them? How will define your role? How will you define the students’ role? How can you (re)frame office hours to communicate their purpose?

Develop. What tools (calendars, emails, video conferencing) do you need to learn/use to hold your office hours? What support (documents, infographics, reminders) will you put in place to help students access them? What activities (active learning, icebreakers, questionnaires, checklists) could help students use and access them?

Implement. How will you talk to students about office hours? How will you involve them in the process? How will you continually monitor their use and effectiveness? How will you know when you may need to adjust?

Assess. How will you assess the effectiveness of office hours? How will you collect student feedback about office hours? How will you implement suggestions for future semesters?

Office hours can sometimes be a problem point in our courses, but asking questions like these help us to really dig into what's working, what's not working, and why. It also reminds us that everything in our course can always be improved and refreshed as we grow and develop our pedagogy.


Have reflections you'd like to share? Tag us on social media or leave them in the comments!

And don't forget to join us for Spring-on-Call for more conversations like these!

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