Distributing student office hours across the term

This is one of those 'doh - how did it take me decades to notice that?!' ideas.

This term, I have the pleasure of guiding 500 students through an introductory research methods course. I am working with 6 graduate student TAs. Each TA is contracted to have 2-3 hours per week of office hours. One of those is spent on administration / email / etc.

In the past, the TAs have each scheduled 2 hours per week of office hours every week. They've let me know that they are an underutilized resource. One or two students would wander in from time to time. Then, after the crickets chirped for weeks, in the last few weeks of the quarter, all of the office hours would be chaos as the students want to review their exams and are facing the clear motivation of the end of term rush. The result being that everyone is frustrated and time was used inefficiently.

              2 hours per week for 10 weeks = 4 hours per week for 5 weeks

This term, I asked two of the TAs to bunch their office in the last half of the term. They did no office hours for the first half and are now scheduling 4 hours per week for the second half.

Let's plan together to give the students the help they need WHEN they need it!