Teaching Remotely

Online Office Hours Through Canvas

You can use Canvas to manage unscheduled or scheduled office hours.

Unscheduled Office Hours

If you want to be available for students for a few hours, but prefer not to schedule individual meetings, this is your best option. This is the equivalent of posting office hours in your syllabus, when students drop by your office. If there is one student in your virtual office and another comes by, the second may wait in a waiting room until you are ready to see them.

Note: if you have multiple, discontinuous office hours windows, you will need to repeat this process for each window of time.

  1. In Canvas, click the Zoom link.
  2. Click Schedule a new meeting.
    Schedule a new meeting in Canvas button screenshot
  3. Enter the office hour details in the Topic and Description fields.
    Enter the office hour details in the Topic and Description fields screenshot
  4. Select Recurring meeting.
  5. For Recurrence, select No Fixed Time.
    Setting recurrence screenshot
  6. For Meeting options, we recommend you enable the following:
    1. Require a meeting password (define the password in the text field).
    2. Mute participants upon entry
    3. Enable waiting room
      Enable waiting room screenshot
  7. Click Save and copy the meeting URL or click the Copy the invitation.
  8. Distribute the meeting URL or meeting Invitation to your students using one of the following options:
    1. Canvas announcements
    2. Canvas syllabus page
    3. Canvas calendar

An example of information you may want to include with the URL:

Remote Office hours will be weekly at X time. For extra security, you will need to enter the class password. Also, when you click the meeting link you will be placed in a virtual waiting room. I will admit you to the Zoom meeting as soon as I am ready to see you. Think of it as knocking on my office door. I may be with another student.

Scheduled Office Hours

If you want to schedule specific times with students, then scheduled office hours are your best option. You will first define a window for the hours in which you will accept appointments, then invite students to claim slots within that window. If you were conducting in-person class, this would be like passing around a signup sheet in which students claim scheduled times to come to your office.

  1. Follow the steps for creating Unscheduled Office Hours above.
  2. To Distribute the Zoom meeting URL to your students using Canvas Calendar: In Canvas, click the calendar icon in the left navigation pane, then the click plus (+) button on the upper right.
    Canvas calendar screenshot
  3. Open the Appointment Group tab and complete the form as appropriate. Be sure to select the course calendar linked to the course for which you are creating office hours. Note that you can select multiple course calendars to create office hours for multiple courses. For the time ranges, enter the start and end times for your office hours windows. The form provides fields to enter all the windows you define in one place.
    Appointment Group tab  screenshot
  4. Enter the amount of time you are allotting for each appointment in the Divide into time into equal time slots of X minutes field. Click Go to divide the time ranges into individual appointments.
    Note: you can delete some of the appointment slots to provide yourself some break time.
    Deleting appointments screenshot
  5. Be sure to include the Zoom Link in the location or the description then click Publish.

Students in your Canvas course can reserve appointment times by clicking on the Canvas calendar, clicking Find Appointments, selecting the time slot they want and clicking Reserve.

The TA or Instructor can see which times are selected on their calendar. The unreserved times will be light in the calendar and the reserved times will appear bold.

For more details on how to use the scheduler, please refer to Canvas guides or contact Canvas support (7/24/365, via chat or call 833.564.8137.)