Office Hours w Multiple Leaders



  • Zoom (webcam, microphone, internet connectivity)
  • Secondary communication platform: Slack/Hangouts/Google Doc. Zoom’s chat won’t work.


  • Main room:
    • hosted by TA with host controls
    • has as many students as come through before they’re sent to breakout rooms
    • some students may have questions answered if the host is not otherwise occupied
  • Breakout rooms with a TA present and dedicated to answering questions:
    • students with more in-depth questions can get the attention of a TA
    • around 6 students at a time (we’ll refine that number as we gain experience).
  • Breakout rooms for working in a shared space:
    • room purpose possibilities: discussion oriented or quiet work
    • designed for students who want to share a space to work with other students
    • students can call out for help from the host
    • around 10 students at one time per room

Responsibilities of host TA, in main Zoom room

  • ask incoming students what their question topic is
  • create list of questions to isolate common topics
  • send students to breakout rooms based on availability of space and their topic
  • communicate with the other TAs via another communication channel
  • field questions from students in the main meeting room if they are not otherwise engaged
  • jump to a room that asked for help for no more than 2 minutes at a time. In order to make sure incoming students know someone will be with them shortly, they should return to the main room within two minutes (possibly returning with the student who asked for help). Leaving an “I will return” message is only possible if they have a secondary device connected to Zoom.

Responsibilities of cohost TAs, each one in a separate breakout room

  • answer student questions, up to 6 students at a time
  • communicate with the host TA via another communication channel
  • inform the host TA when people should or need to leave their room
  • cohosts should return to the main room when they have no students, to share a space with the host TA.


One person in a room can set up their screen up for others to doodle on if there is a sustained period without talking. This will give us all practice using the tools of Zoom, and encourages humor and social bonding. The screen should be disabled if any individual student asks for it to be disabled.

This work was produced by Ella Foster-Molina, Swarthmore College, March 2020. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit