Office hours can be one of the most powerful tools to help each student deepen his/her understanding of learning. In many universities, each professor holds office hours outside of class time to allow students to visit his or her laboratory and ask questions freely. Students can freely ask questions about topics covered in class, academic plans, and their careers.

In COVID-19, university lectures and office hours are no longer conducted face-to-face. Unfortunately, opportunities for students and professors to get to know each other are becoming less and less frequent. In this context, the implementation of online office hours has been gaining more attention.

Here’re the best 4 ways to actually hold office hours online.

Remotehour

You can be one-click away from your students. Remotehour is the best option for holding online office hours. Remotehour itself is dedicated to allowing a seamless 1:1 meeting between professors and students.

Toggle Online

When you are done setting up online, share the room URL with your students. When students click on the room URL, they will see your status.

Copy Room Url

First, sign up on the website to create a room to invite students. As a feature, every room has a session time. The time can be set from 5 to 30 minutes. When the time expires, the call is automatically terminated, but the time can be increased during the call. You can also edit the contents of other rooms from [Edit room].

When it's time for office hours, head to [Dashboard] on the website, or toggle online from the Chrome extension.

Customize your availability status at will, and if you are away or away, students can send you messages and subscribe to your online information instead of being connected with you. When you're online, students don't need to register or install, and they can connect with you in one click.

Click to Talk

If you know the students' email addresses, you can even send them notifications as soon as you're online.

This is probably the best tool for office hours because it's easy for students and if you're deploying to multiple people, you can ask them to wait in line. However, it does not support group calls, so it is not suitable for classes.

Zoom

Zoom is one of the most popular video chat tools in the world. It's a business-only tool, so it's difficult to use, but the communication and functions are stable.

First, install Zoom from the official website. After completing an account registration, create an office hour event. Go to the [Meetings] tab of the app and click the plus icon. After that, edit the event according to the purpose, but check the following.

  • [Recurring meeting] on Date&Time
  • [Waiting Room] on Security

Zoom Setup

Generate the original Zoom URL once saved, so set this as a calendar and share it with your students in advance.

Join Zoom at the beginning of office hours. Students who want to talk to me request events on Zoom, and I accept them in turn. You can only talk to students who have accepted.

The advantage of Zoom is that the quality of the calls is guaranteed, but the operation is confusing. Also, the detailed UX is not taken into consideration. For example, a student's request may go unnoticed because there is no notification or voice. Since it is only for company meetings, students will be frustrated by the awkwardness of using it.

Calendly

Office hours can be one of the most powerful tools to help each student deepen his or her understanding of learning.

When you sign up for Calendly, it generates a scheduling page that integrates with your regular calendar software to schedule appointments where you are free, and it works with Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal, and Office365. After linking, go to [Edit Eventype] and set the time frame for office hours.

Calendly Availability

When the resulting scheduling page is shared, students book their free time.

Calendly Booking

It can also work with Google Hangout and major video apps like Zoom, so the video room URL is generated automatically.

Although Calendly is very useful in terms of scheduling, it also has the disadvantage that it doesn't work unless you book at least a day in advance. Also, it is not suitable for flexible office hours because the meeting time is fixed.

Conclusion

In choosing a tool to conduct office hours, it's not the quality of the video that matters, but how seamlessly you connect. If a call with multiple people is planned, communication with people other than the one you're calling is essential.

Remotehour has a queuing feature that gives you an idea of how long other students will be on the call. Remotehour is a free tool that you can use right away. Why not give it a try during your next office hours?