Online office hours get thumbs-up from profs

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Photo by Jesse Johnson

TFO President Michelle Robertson says offering faculty office hours online is worth considering.

Jesse Johnson , Editor-in-Chief

Three-quarters of AACC faculty in a recent survey said online office hours would benefit students.

Almost half of the 166 faculty members who responded to the survey by the Online Policies and Practices Committee said they already conduct some office hours online.

Full-time faculty members are required to hold six office hours per week. Traditionally, faculty holds those hours in on-campus offices.

Members of The Faculty Organization have called for more study into whether online or face-to-face office hours are better for students, according to TFO President Michelle Robertson.

“It isn’t considered a definitive stance from TFO; it’s more of like a, ‘Here’s what we’re thinking,’” Robertson said. “We definitely want the administration to know this is what we’re thinking so that they can take it into account.”

Richard Hardesty, an American studies professor, teaches classes both online and on-campus. He said flexibility is important for a student who needs to contact the professor but might not be able to get to campus.

Hardesty is an adjunct professor, who is not required to hold office hours.

Some students said they like the physical interaction of a face-to-face meeting better than the more impersonal online meetings.

“[Online office hours] sound interesting,” business major Austin Houtz said. “I do think there’s something about talking with them face-to-face, though.”

Biology major Courtney Bonnet said she took online classes to fit her schedule, but none of her professors held online office hours.

“I wasn’t able to see my professors for office hours because they had set times that didn’t fit in with my schedule,” Bonnet said. “If they had [more] office hours online, I would’ve absolutely taken advantage of that.”