Whether your course is held completely online, face-to-face, or somewhere in between, offering your students the opportunity to meet for office hours remotely rather than just in person is a great way to offer additional flexibility and help meet your students’ needs. With its robust Canvas integration, Zoom is a solid choice for virtual office hours. Using Zoom for office hours is mostly the same as setting up a meeting for a virtual class session, though there are a few additional options you may wish to consider.
Enabling the Waiting Room
For office hours, we highly suggest enabling the waiting room in your meeting settings. When the waiting room is enabled, it means that each attendee will have to be manually let into the Zoom meeting by you, the host. This gives you more control of who joins the call and when, and you can prevent a student from “popping in” and accidentally intruding on a private meeting.
Setting Up a Recurrence
If you have office hours at the same time each day and each week, you can set up a recurring meeting just like you would for virtual sessions. Let’s say you have office hours from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You would set your recurrence to “weekly”, check Tuesday and Thursday, set the start time as 11 a.m., and set the duration to two hours. The start and end dates of the recurrence would be the first and last days of the semester. When you set up your office hours through the Zoom Canvas integration, this will also populate the Canvas calendar with these meeting times.
But what if your office hours don’t occur during the same time slot each day, such as 8 to 10 a.m. on Mondays and 1 to 3 p.m. on Thursdays? You could set up two recurring meetings, one for Mondays and one for Thursdays. In this case, you will want to make sure your two meeting links are clearly labeled with the day of the week so students don’t mix them up. You could also set up a single recurring meeting and ignore the fact that the meeting time for one of the two days is incorrect—the link will still work outside of the designated time slot, but it does mean that it will also list the incorrect time on the Canvas calendar and in Zoom.
In these cases, another solution is to create a recurring meeting with “no fixed time”, which can be set from the “recurrence” dropdown menu when adjusting your meeting’s settings. This will create an open-ended meeting link that won’t expire for 365 days. Note that “no fixed time” meetings will not show up on the calendar in Canvas, though you could still manually add your office hours to the Canvas calendar and your Outlook calendar.
For most technical questions, please contact Zoom support or the UWGB Help Desk. If your questions pertain to the Zoom Canvas integration, your best point of contact is firstname.lastname@example.org. Lastly, if you have general questions about how you can use Zoom to support your teaching, we always welcome you to email the CATL inbox (email@example.com) or schedule a consultation with a CATL member.