It is long understood that many students do not take advantage of faculty assistance outside of class. In an attempt to improve the use of office hours, faculty have made efforts to schedule times that are most convenient to students and are most likely to have high attendance; before homework assignments are due or examinations are being held. Despite these efforts, students rarely take advantage of this support service. As a first attempt to improve student engagement, the number of office hours held by teaching assistants (TAs) was increased, expecting that students would feel more comfortable asking for help from TAs rather than faculty. However, office hour attendance was no better for TAs than for faculty. Yet, exam performance continued to indicate that many students could benefit from help outside the classroom. In an effort to better understand this trend, a survey was conducted to examine reasons why students choose not to attend office hours. In particular, we were looking for the effect of social norms, student’s perception of their understanding of the material and their need for extra help, as well as the use of other resources such as on-line solutions to homework problems and cooperative learning with other students. This survey was conducted in six classes (300 students) comprising our engineering science core curriculum, including: Statics, Mechanics of Materials, Dynamics, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer. Results indicated that of all the factors tested, the only ones that positively correlated to low office hour attendance were (1) students felt they understood the material well enough and did not need extra help, (2) students procrastinated and therefore did not have time to seek help before homework was due, and (3) students who spent less overall time studying outside of class attended fewer office hours. The data did not support our initial premise that students who attended more office hours performed better. Further study is warranted to explore behaviors that enhance student performance. It is expected that results from these studies will provide information to improve students’ efficient use of time outside the classroom.

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