How to run office hours

ericgj edited this page Jul 7, 2012 · 3 revisions

Originally, office hours referred to times that instructors and mentors made themselves available on IRC during the MU core course, to answer questions and take a temperature check. Now anyone can hold "office hours" as a way of contributing back to the MU community.

Basically, when you announce you are holding office hours at a certain time, you are saying you're willing to field questions on IRC, look at people's code, give general suggestions or links to articles, etc. However, you shouldn't feel you have to answer every question that comes up. If you don't know the technology or problem domain, feel free to say so and throw out the question to others. There is always bound to be someone lurking who has something to say, accurate or not ;)

Also, you may want to focus the discussion up front. For instance, Jordan Byron has run office hours specifically focused on front-end issues. This can sometimes be more helpful in generating discussion than completely open-ended office hours.

If you have to leave unexpectedly during the announced hours, let people know when you leave and come back.

Don't feel you have to put in many hours for it to be worth it. Even an hour here and there can be fruitful, especially if people know it's happening well in advance.

If you have the time and energy for it, you can use the dead times during your office hours to generate discussion. For instance, ping someone about a project you know they're working on, or follow up with someone about a question they asked that you noticed in the backlog. It helps the community simply to keep discussion going on the channel, so use your temporary "office hours" power to steer the ship for a bit.

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