Northwestern's Next Normal #1

Dr. Roberts hears the familiar chime—a student has just entered the Zoom waiting room. As she sends them a quick message to say she’ll be with them soon, she considers how efficient this process has become. She’s no longer tethered to her office for long periods of time to account for infrequent student drop-ins and students no longer have to wait outside a closed door anxious about whether they'll have time to dash across campus to their next class or activity.
Since she began hosting office hours on Zoom, Dr. Roberts has held them from her house, a coffee shop, and picnic benches across campus. Not only that, more and different types of students have been showing up who previously didn’t come in person. When asked why, the students say, “Because it’s easier. I don’t have to make a 15-minute walk across campus to ask a two-minute question. I can log in from my phone or computer anywhere and have the answer almost immediately.”
While Dr. Roberts still plans to offer an in-person option for those who request it, everyone appreciates the new flexibility that the virtual meeting option provides.
Does offering remote office hours sound like something you want to try? Follow the directions below to get started.**


Remote Office Hours Infographic
** Your department or college may have specific expectations regarding in-person office hours for Fall Quarter. Please check with your department for guidance. If you do plan to offer them, we recommend offering your first session in the first two weeks of the quarter to assure everyone can connect properly using their Northwestern Zoom account.



Why Should I Do This?

Emily Schafer

Emily Schafer

Ph.D. Candidate in Biomedical Engineering

“Strong relationships between college students and their teachers have an undisputed link to positive student outcomes, such as retention, motivation, sense of belonging, and academic achievement. An urgent need exists to lower barriers to attendance that may prevent students from forming connections with their instructors by minimizing obstacles for those with the greatest need. The resulting connections between students and instructors may inspire future courses to reconsider their office hours strategy, regardless of teaching format.”

Watch Emily's TEACHx2021 presentation on office hours.

Need assistance with setting up your Zoom meeting or the Canvas Scheduler? Email us at and we’ll be happy to assist!