How-To: Set Up Online Office Hours

By:  Ruowei Fischer  &   Katie Earehart     E-Campus Logo

How-To: Set Up Online Office Hours

Whether teaching synchronously or asynchronously, implementing and maintaining instructor presence is an integral element of successful online teaching. Scheduling online office hours is just one way of ensuring you are visible and available to students throughout the semester. Thankfully, there are several options available to help you create opportunities for consistent and meaningful connection.

Miami University offers three virtual conferencing tools: Webex, Zoom, and Google Meet. Both Zoom and Webex offer integration with Canvas, which means you may schedule classroom lectures and office hours within Canvas and automatically add the meeting schedules to your students' Canvas Calendar and their Canvas To-Do list. While Google Meet is not yet integrated with Canvas, it’s an excellent tool for scheduling individual meetings with students and, as a Google Workspace tool, is designed to work seamlessly with Google Calendar. If you primarily use Google Calendar for scheduling, both Webex and Zoom offer helpful integration options within the application, as well.

Another option is to utilize the Canvas Calendar Appointment Slot feature if you use Canvas extensively and want to keep everything in one place.

Scheduling Office Hours


Webex comes with an Office Hours feature. To begin scheduling, you’ll need to first turn on Office Hours:

  1. Click on Cisco Webex from course navigation.
  2. Click on Setup.
  3. Under Choose your features, check the box labeled Office Hours, and then Apply.

Once the feature is enabled, click Office Hours at the top. You will see a table with dates and times you may choose to be available for your students to schedule meetings with you. You can even change the meeting durations and set up appointment “buffer” time. Click Save after all the time slots are selected.

How students can schedule office hours:

  1. Click on Cisco Webex from the course navigation.
  2. Click on Office Hours.
  3. Select an available time, then click Confirm Meeting.

Both instructor and student will receive an email notification once the meeting is confirmed. Instructors may also click on View My Meetings in Webex to view all the appointments scheduled during Office Hours.

The Webex Office Hours feature is great for instructors who use Webex extensively and want to keep all their meeting appointments inside Canvas. You may also schedule individual Webex meetings inside Google Calendar. See the Google Meet directions in this article for more information.


Zoom does not have a specific Office Hours feature like Webex; however, you may use your Personal Meeting Room to schedule and conduct virtual meetings with students. Your Personal Meeting Room has a unique URL that takes students to your individual Zoom meeting room. You may copy and paste the link to share it with your students after discussing a time to meet.

To find your Personal Meeting Room URL:

  1. Click on Zoom from course navigation.
  2. Click on Personal Meeting Room at the top.
  3. Find Join URL on the left and click Copy Meeting Invitation.

You may then paste the link into a message or meeting request to let the student know when to join your room. Since your Personal Meeting Room link does not change, it's a good idea to enable some of Zoom’s security settings to ensure only your desired participants join each session. Miami’s IT Services recommends turning on the Waiting Room feature and familiarizing yourself with other hosting capabilities to keep uninvited guests out of your meetings.

Note: Please be aware that if you use the Zoom option in Canvas to “Schedule a New Meeting,” ALL CLASS MEMBERS will receive this meeting on their Course Calendar or To-do list. Consequently, this option is not recommended to schedule individual meetings but can work well for scheduling class lectures.

You may also schedule individual Zoom meetings inside Google Calendar. See the Google Meet directions in this article for more information.

Google Meet

Google Meet is the default video conferencing tool when scheduling an event in Google Calendar. You may also go to to start an instant meeting with your students.

To start an instant meeting:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on New meeting, then Start an instant meeting. Adjust your microphone, camera, and background if needed.
  3. From the pop-up window, click on Add others to invite attendees. You may also directly share the meeting link with people you would like to invite.

To schedule a future meeting through Google Calendar.

  1. Click on +Create or double-click on a date from the monthly/weekly calendar view.
  2. Enter your meeting info and then Add guests by typing the student name or email.
  3. Click on Add Google Meet video conferencing.
    Note: If you prefer Webex or Zoom, you may click on the dropdown to choose the video conferencing tool you prefer. The first time you will be prompted to log in with your Miami credentials to enable the application to integrate with Google Calendar.
  4. Click on Save.
  5. It is optional to add a message to the invitation. Click Send to allow Google to send an invitation to your guest.

Students will be notified by email, and an event will be added to their Google Calendar.

Canvas Calendar Appointment Slot

If you’re familiar with Canvas Calendar and would like to keep all of your scheduled meetings in one place, the Appointment Slot feature is a convenient option for scheduling individual meetings. You can access step-by-step instructions in the Canvas Instructor Guide for adding appointment groups, though you may also want to review the following recommendations:

  • Add Appointment Details. It is beneficial to add a meeting link to the details box. You may put your Webex personal meeting room link or Zoom Personal Meeting Room link here.
  • Turn on Notifications for Scheduling in your Account Notification Settings and set it as “Notify immediately.”
  • Share this Canvas Student Guide with your students to show them how to sign up for appointments.

With so many options available to set up online office hours, what’s most important is choosing the video conferencing tool with which you feel most comfortable and familiar. Here are some final tips for scheduling your virtual Office Hours:

  • Plan ahead of time
  • Conduct a few tests
  • Communicate your preferred Office Hours method with students
  • Reach out to E-Campus with any questions!

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