The time we spend in school has a huge impact on our lives. It is in these environments that we get exposed to new things, knowledge, entire fields of study, and begin to consider on the career path weâ€™ll pursue. It is therefore imperative that the environments in which we learn are engaging, helpful, and easy to navigate.
So much of our educational experience depends on the people running our courses â€“ the teachers. Weâ€™ve all had teachers that we donâ€™t engage with. Having a teacher that talked down to the class left me with a permanent hatred of math that I still canâ€™t shake off more than a decade later, despite having enjoyed math before that.
A teacher that doesnâ€™t inspire us leads to disengagement and boredom. A teacher that is difficult to get hold of exacerbates this. When a teacher is difficult to get hold of, students are less likely to reach out to them for help and guidance. Without anyone to help them overcome their academic roadblocks, their grades and performance can suffer.
This is particularly important for college and university students, where they spend less time in the classroom and more time studying alone. The easier it is for students to connect with their professors, the more likely they are to reach out for help, and therefore the more likely they are to reach their potential.
For busy professors it can be tough to find the time to connect with students as much as they would like. Not to mention some students are more shy about reaching out for help than others.
Technology can help with this.
Get Better Connected
Thanks to technology, the world is infinitely smaller than it used to be. It is easier to connect with people than ever before.
Teachers can use forums, live chat, and even social media to answer studentsâ€™ queries at their own convenience. The use of forums or social media also mean that if multiple students have the same question, thereâ€™s a searchable database of information, preventing the need for multiple students to ask the same question. Teachers can also use this information to make a list of frequently asked questions, and alter class materials to ensure that these queries are covered in the future.
For one-to-one conversations, many of us default to emails. While emails are quick to send they can be time-consuming to manage. Itâ€™s easy for them to get lost in busy in boxes.
Drop-in hours can be a way around this, but it can also mean that on some days no students show up while on others there are too many for professors to see and not enough time to see everyone. This means that students donâ€™t get the time or information that they need. Itâ€™s ineffective for everyone involved.
Make Yourself Available With Online Booking
Online booking offers a simple, streamlined alternative to drop-in hours.
When teachers connect their calendars to an online booking platform, the platform can use their calendar information to suggest meeting times to students. Platforms that update in real-time also avoid any double-bookings. That means even if a meeting is booked at the last-minute, the software can acknowledge this and remove it from the list of times suggested to students.
Professors also then donâ€™t need to block out the same office hours every week. If they chose to, they can make themselves more available around deadlines or other busy periods to ensure that everyone gets the guidance that they need.
Knowing who theyâ€™re going to see beforehand means that teachers can prepare in advance â€“ they can find out the paperwork that they need, any notes they have on the studentâ€™s progress, and any relevant information they may wish to share. This prevents part of the meeting time being lost to them searching for resources or references. Instead, they can spend the full meeting helping students reach their potential!