Officehours Mitigates Student Anxiety—and Liberates Professors from Offices

Share Article

New web service helps students access advice from their professors: faster, more easily, and from anywhere.

Officehours allows post-secondary institutions a means of scaling up access to advisors, especially for remote and distance learners.

Advice startup Officehours just released its Teams product, which makes meetings easier for organizations. This affords universities and colleges a unique opportunity to interact with students—as well as prospective ones. Officehours’ founders believe this can help students access feedback they currently miss out on.

Students are notoriously bad at attending office hours. In fact, many students avoid office hours altogether—and then email frantic questions to their profs, the night before midterms. This leaves professors sitting in their offices, waiting for students to attend their office hours, and wondering why they bother. “We think software can take some of the intimidation out of office hours—because young people are more comfortable online,” explains Officehours co-founder Eric Karjaluoto. “Plus, Officehours lets professors escape their offices, while still being available to students.”

Although Officehours was first intended for general use, the system is nicely suited to colleges and universities. Professors can set their availability, allowing students to request a session in advance. Once the professor approves the session, the system reminds participants to ensure they don’t miss their meeting. Each session starts at a set time, and runs entirely online (usage requires a computer and mic-enabled headphones). Sessions run for 10 minutes, with a clock in the foreground counting down. The call terminates once the allotted time elapses.

Officehours allows post-secondary institutions a means of scaling up access to advisors, especially for remote and distance learners. The University of Minnesota’s Barrett Colombo (Manager of Education and Policy Initiatives) explains, “the purpose of the classes we hold, which use Officehours, is to address what we call ‘global grand challenges.’ We see Officehours as a virtual coaching platform that can help us advise transdisciplinary teams working in different places.”

Officehours expands students’ reach, giving them access to advisors in the field. “At Vancouver Island University (VIU), we use Officehours to connect students to industry experts,” explains Patrick Foster, a Professor at VIU and chair of the Graphic Design Department. “With Officehours Teams, we plan to make ourselves better available when we’re off campus. We also think it could help us communicate more efficiently with prospective students.” This means of interacting is more direct and cost-effective than traditional outreach.

Officehours handles all scheduling, time-zones, and notifications. It also reduces meeting time while lowering call costs. Users can access the service free of charge; however, organizations pay to use the platform (approximately $5/month, per advisor). For this fee, organizations get an individualized subdomain, customized branding, and admin tools for moderating their team members.

The Officehours Teams service launched to a handful of organizations including Vancouver Island University, University of Virginia Darden School of Business, and The University of Minnesota, last week. The full service rolls-out to additional groups, today. Organizations can start their Officehours team at:

About Officehours: Officehours is a platform that enables people to exchange one-on-one advice, during brief 10 minute sessions.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Eric Karjaluoto
+1 (604) 202 2206
Email >
since: 04/2015
Follow >
Like >

Follow us on
Visit website