‘Come and see me in my online office’

With Open Educational Resources (OER) becoming the new norm, community college students are getting accustomed to turning in work and learning online. Many students also work and struggle balancing schoolwork with life at home.

Professors offer office hours for students who need one-on-one assistance or guidance with a specific topic related to their given courses. Professors are required to offer a specific number of office hours each week. This makes it difficult to go to campus tutoring centers or meeting in person. 

Having professors provide office hours online could be a simple solution to this complication.  

The campus can use an inexpensive online procedure to give students who cannot meet with their professors a chance to get academic assistance.

The college can either have an office hour added to professors’ required numbered of office hours or make one of their current office hours a hybrid hour, where the online option is available. 

Office hours promote a beneficial connection between student and professor, and it can dramatically make an impact on grades and educational success. Students have the opportunity to go over exams or written papers and gather concrete feedback which can boost success rates in their courses.

According to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Political Science Education, Mario Guerrero and Alisa Beth Rod concluded that “the number of office-hour visits a student makes during a semester is positively correlated to his or her academic performance in the course.”

Students who have difficulty meeting in person could have a selection tab within the Canvas website that reads “Online Office Hours” for students to either set up an appointment or check in with a professor. 

The professor could list these online office hours in their syllabus for easy directions on how to contact them. 

It would cost nothing to add this feature within Canvas as a way to implement this system.

Those who say, “Your best tutors are your professors” aren’t wrong. 

Professors are the ones who make their syllabuses, and they create the content for their lectures. Online office hours can offer a way for students to get clarification on course material that seems confusing and even go through practice problems. 

The digital platform is taking over the new generation, and reliability on technology can make online office hours even more helpful for those who use the internet as a primary academic tool.

According to a study by San Bernardino Valley College, “Students who received Success Center tutoring services during the 2012–2015 academic years had an overall success rate 7% higher than the campus-wide average for students enrolled in courses that provided tutoring support but did not utilize Center services.”

Having these office hours available to them in a different form can assist students with gaining long-term planning, communication and self-efficiency skills.