Why Students Don’t Attend Office Hours
By Maryellen Weimer, PhD
More than 600 students answered 17 survey items about one of their courses in order to help researchers explore factors that influence students’ use of office hours. The research goal was to identify ways instructors could increase the use of office hours because so many students don’t take advantage of this opportunity to interact with faculty. Sixty-six percent of these students reported that they had not attended office hours for the course in question. The remaining third had been to the instructor’s office once. Only 8% reported attending office hours more than once a month. These percentages are consistent with previous findings.
The researchers examined a number of course and instructor characteristics identified elsewhere in the literature as being relevant to student-faculty interaction. Here are some (not all) of the items that ended up being associated with the use of office hours: whether the instructor gave useful feedback during office hours, whether they were held at a convenient time and location, if the course was at the 100 or 400 level, if students perceived the class as small, if the course was required either as general education or as part of a major, and if the student was taking advantage of university-sponsored peer tutoring.
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Reference: Griffin, W. et. al., (2014). Starting the conversation: An exploratory study of factors that influence student office hour use. College Teaching, 62 (3), 94-99.