Are you looking for a free method to allow students to easily communicate with you during virtual office hours? Google Hangouts is a tool which allows students to connect to you through messaging, voice or video during scheduled office hours.
Google Hangouts provides the instructor the option to allow one-on-one or group chatting. In addition, Google Hangouts is already built into Gmail, Google+, and mobile apps are available for iOS and Android devices. The students choose which method to communicate with you during your virtual office hours.
Cathy and I have both used Google Hangouts as a virtual office hour communication option. This allows us to be available to our students during a specified time each week from anywhere. Typically, we can work on other items until a student connects to us in Google Hangouts. This flexibility enables us to remain productive during our office hours.
As a result of utilizing Google Hangouts, our students have responded favorably and they appreciate the easy access to their professor. For more information about Google Hangouts or to set up your free Google account visit: https://hangouts.google.com