Guidance for Using Office Hours

Office hours are times of the week that instructors or their assistants reserve to be available to help students and get to know them better. You may choose to visit only for a few minutes with a quick question or to remain longer for more involved concerns.

Common topics discussed

  • Questions about course concepts
  • Review of past quizzes or feedback on other assessed work
  • Clarification on assignments
  • Best study methods for learning
  • Interesting topics to explore further
  • Additional courses taught by the instructor
  • Undergraduate research opportunities

Benefits of attending

  • Getting to know your professor and/or assistants (TA, LA, etc.)
  • Gaining better understanding of key concepts and exam expectations
  • Making yourself known for letters of recommendation, research, etc.
  • Seeking information on majors, jobs, and future plans

Preparing for the meeting

  • Determine your purpose for meeting
  • If your purpose is seeking clarification, prepare specific questions
  • If your purpose is getting “unstuck,” summarize what you have tried
  • Have resources (notes, textbook, etc.) ready for the meeting

Customary behaviors

  • Arrive/log in on time
  • Introduce yourself
  • Offer a respectful greeting: “Hello, professor [last name]” or equivalent
  • Communicate respectfully

Tips for using Zoom to meet your instructor

  • Find a location that minimizes interruptions
  • Create an atmosphere in which you can focus
  • Clear digital distractions
  • Test Zoom software prior to the meeting

Arranging a meeting

  • Check the syllabus and Canvas announcements for times and protocol
  • If you can’t find information, email your instructor to inquire
  • Check whether you are free during office hours
  • If free, schedule enough time to account for others in line before you
  • If not free, email your instructor to request an appointment
  • When emailing for an appointment, offer a range of days and times