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I'm teaching remotely - how do I hold office hours with my distance students?

Though we have both Canvas Conferences and Zoom web-conferencing tools available at FSU, we strongly recommend using Zoom for virtual office hours because it is well suited to both of the meeting types in this support article.

Facilitating regular, scheduled office hours that all students can join

This type of office hours interaction is best for allowing several students to attend your office hours at the same time. We recommend that you follow the same security precautions that you use to prevent a regular class meeting from being hijacked by disruptive behavior. Listed below are a few options specifically tailored to virtual office hour interactions.

  • Use the Canvas integration of Zoom to setup a recurring meeting for your regular office hours. You will not need to share the join URL with your students - simply direct them to join your office hours meetings from the Zoom area of your Canvas course. Do not post your meeting URL anywhere public.
  • When scheduling the Zoom meeting, check the waiting room box. This allows you to make sure in-progress discussions with individual students or small groups of students aren't interrupted, and ensure you know who is joining your office hours.
    • Keep in mind:
      • You will need to manually allow your students to join your office hours meeting, otherwise they will remain in the waiting room the whole time. This means that you may need to keep checking your waiting room periodically throughout your office hours session.

        Waiting room attendees are ordered by how long they've been waiting with those who have been waiting the longest at the top of the list.

      • When you are finished meeting with someone, you can return them to the waiting room or remove that participant from your meeting if needed.
  • Do not record office hours.

Facilitating a one-on-one meeting with a student outside of regular office hours

We recommend this option for discussing personal or sensitive information, such as a student's grade in the course or on an assignment, detailed assignment feedback, or anything else that you would not discuss publicly in front of other students.

  • Bypass the Canvas integration for this purpose so that no other students can join your meeting.
  • When scheduling your Zoom meeting, make sure to require a password to join the meeting.
  • Share the join URL and password with only the individual student you are meeting with directly via email or a Canvas message.
  • Do not record individual meetings.

To ensure that your individual Zoom meetings are secure, review this FSU ITS guide for securing your non-Canvas Zoom meetings

Additional Resources

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  • 17-Apr-2020
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