Creating Virtual Office Hours (Best Practices)

When scheduling virtual meeting with students, it is recommended that that they be scheduled with a recurrence. A recurring meeting has the time and date associated with each meeting and the recurring sessions can be added to a calendar which can help remind students of upcoming events. The other benefit is that if scheduled in a Blackboard course, only the students within the course are aware of the scheduled times. This helps eliminate confusion across sections or classes.

However, there may be times where scheduling every meeting may be difficult or cumbersome for the students, such as virtual office hours across sections. For this purpose you may want a singular meeting with no end date that can be joined at any time. There are a few different ways to accomplish this, the choice on which option to adopt is an individual preference.


1. Choose a Virtual Room for Office Hours


Set up a recurring Zoom session


  • It is possible to set up a zoom session with no fixed end time. Depending on who you are intending the as the audience, will determine how you configure the session.
  • If the audience for the session will be only the students within a course, it is recommended that the session be created within the specific course.
  • If the audience for the session will be for students across sections or courses, then the session will need to be created outside of a course. To access, open your personal meeting preferences by going to and signing in with your Drake credentials via the SSO option.
  • The next step can be performed regardless of where you create the session. To have a session with no specified end date, choose Recurring meeting and under the recurrence frequency choose No Fixed Time. This will create a session which is open and can be accessed by whomever has the link to the session.

Image of the no fixed time option with zoom meeting recurrance

2. Considerations When Using an Open Virtual Session

  • With an open virtual session, it not possible to prevent students from joining if they have the link.
    • In Zoom, if students have the link and they are using their Drake account (Zoom) they will be automatically admitted to the session Main Room.
    • The waiting room option is enabled in Zoom automatically, but only users not using a Drake account license will be held in the waiting room.
  • Because the sessions are open and available, FERPA must be considered when conducting open sessions.
    • The use of Breakout Rooms is recommended if conducting an open session where protected information may be discussed in a smaller, private group setting.
    • A good practice would be to leave students in the Main Room while entering a Breakout Room with only you and the student in question.
    • Notes about Recordings:
      • With Zoom any participant can record a session. Be aware not to discuss protected information in a general and open session.

For additional questions, please submit a Video Conferencing Consultation.

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Article ID: 145376
Mon 8/1/22 1:24 PM
Fri 4/19/24 9:35 AM