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Office hours are helpful for students struggling with coursework

By Rachel Lyons / Staff Writer

As a student, instructor office hours should be your friend, not fiend.

It isn’t unusual for Hutchinson Community College students to either fear office hours or be unavailable during a professor’s set office hours. This reality is best illustrated by Aaron Bragg, HutchCC mathematics instructor, and his Business Calculus, or MA110 class. The only time he realized how much his students were truly struggling was when one brave student came in for an office hour and brought to his attention the reality of the class’s struggles.

“Some students might assume that office hours [are a] time for the faculty member to spend time in their office and not be disturbed,” said Brian Nuest, HutchCC psychology professor. “I need to remind my students more often that they are welcome to see me in my office and that I do not bite.”

But what exactly are office hours? According to Cornell University’s Learning Strategies Center, office hours are designed for students to ask questions, receive additional help from their instructor on tough content, or have class-related discussions about the content of the class.

For example, Bragg’s office hours, which are Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:20 a.m.-11:20 a.m. These are times when students may have other classes or at a time when they work.

Nicole Ingold, Haven freshman, said that attending instructor office hours has allowed her to understand the material taught in her classes better when she can ask questions.

“I think that office hours are good for all college students,” Ingold said. “If you aren’t able to make it to a certain teacher’s office hours, they will work with you and try and find a time or a place for you to meet up. They never just tell you that those are their hours.”

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