Zoom Office Hours and Zoom Student Meeting Space


David Harwood designed his GEOL 125: Frontiers in Antarctic Geosciences course to provide for content, interactions, and activities delivered primarily in-person while also accommodating any online or virtual learners. Students attend GEOL 125 in-person one day per week on a rotating basis MWF and participate synchronously from a remote location the other days. Harwood uses Zoom in two ways (in addition to broadcasting lectures to remote students): to provide an environment for regularly scheduled “office hours”, and also provide an “open space” where students can ‘meet’ to interact with their classmates. Students work together in teams of three on projects and explore online resources to share and discuss. To provide maximum flexibility for these team collaborations, Harwood established an “open meeting space” on Zoom for students to work together. This “open space” is available 24/7 without the need for them to schedule a specific Zoom session. Students can simply arrange to meet at 2:00, for example, and then join the room using the link provided by Harwood and listed in the Syllabus. Zoom “office hours” and “meeting space” help to build ‘community’ in this course, providing students with opportunities to interact with peers and the instructor to help them navigate and succeed in this new course delivery modality.


  • Provide instructor’s presence in the new hyflex learning environment.
  • Build a sense of community in the new hyflex learning environment.
  • Facilitate student collaborations and engagement.
  • Enable a seamless transition for communications if a shift to total remote learning were required later in the semester.


Office Hours: Schedule a regular, recurring meeting time in Zoom where students will know they can find you. Use the 'Waiting Room' feature for private office hours where the instructor controls when a participant joins the meeting. The instructor (host) can admit attendees one-by-one, or hold attendees in the waiting room and admit them all at once. Use general comments in your initial office hours to address and alleviate students' concerns.

To set this up:

  1. Schedule a meeting at https://unl.zoom.us/meetings
  2. Click the box "Recurring Meeting
  3. Set the time and duration, recurrence, and days
  4. You can post information about your office hours in a general information module in your course and as an announcement
  5. Watch the video Zoom office hours and Student meeting space

Student ‘Open’ Meeting Space: Zoom can provide video space available on demand, where students can interact without requiring the presence of you, the host.  If you set up the meeting space in advance, it is more convenient for students to arrange a time to meet and just click on the link you sent.  Students can set up their own meeting times.  As bandwidth will continue to be a problem for all, advise your students to use audio primarily, and video sparingly, if at all.

To set this up:

  1. Schedule a meeting at https://unl.zoom.us/meetings
  2. Click the box "Recurring Meeting
  3. Select "No Fixed Time" in the drop-down, The "No Fixed Time' feature does not seem to be available on the general "Schedule a Meeting" page, so be sure you are on the UNL Zoom site https://unl.zoom.us/meetings. The "/meetings" is key to setting this up.
  4. Watch the video  Zoom office hours and Student meeting space

Note: You might want to include the two Zoom links -- to your recurring “Office Hours” meetings and to your “Student Meetings” space -- in your syllabus, in an announcement, and in your course general information module.

Recommended Resources

Contact Information

Dr. David Harwood, dharwood1@unl.edu
Professor of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences and a Dean’s Fellow of the CAS Teaching Academy

Eyde Olson, eolson2@unl.edu
Instructional Designer, Center for Transformative Teaching

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Thanks for sharing! Do you know if having students in the 'Student Meeting' space would prevent you as an instructor to join other meetings via your Zoom account at the same time if you used your account to set up the 'No Fixed Time' recurring student meeting?

Yes, you would be able to attend other meetings while your students are working in their 24/7 collaborative meeting space. These would be separate Zoom links to fully separate sessions.

These are different zoom links, for different zoom sessions, so there would be no interference. Both should be available at the same time, through different links.

Caution: Test this before using it. If your Zoom account is used to create the "no-fixed time" meetings for students 24/7 use it's a live link available anytime as "hosted" by your Zoom account. If you create and host a second meeting with your account while the "no-fixed time" meeting is in progress, Zoom often displays a message along the lines of ... "You already have a meeting in progress, do you want to quit the first and start the second?" As far as I know, your Zoom account cannot host two meetings simultaneously.

Workaround: - If the second meeting is not "your's", but was created/hosted by another faculty, then click to join. AS an extra precaution, I often log out of my Zoom account first, then click a join meeting URL so the Zoom system joins me as a "guest". Or, use a second device (not logged into Zoom) to join.

Well done, David! I wondered if a group of students could reserve a time to meet during the open ZOOM meeting or if it would be first come, first serve. Good information.

You can host up to two Zoom meetings at a time (https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206122046-Can-I-Host-Concurren...). Note that since students have Zoom accounts too, they can schedule their own meetings as well as using your common space.
Here is a guide I created for office hours in Zoom: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Kur6TD-8R8AXOmBxt7_qCQn3v_NXRQz9oHnN...