If no one has visited your office hours by this point in the semester, you may want to incentivize a visit, or plan for some group office hours. This is a good opportunity for you to get to know your students better, and it demystifies office hours for your students before midterms approach and tensions run high. You can offer students some additional participation credit, or “schedule” what you will do during a certain office hours. For example, you can tell students: “This week I’ll be working through one of our problem sets in office hours and you are welcome to come and walk through it with me.”
Office hours also don’t have to happen in your office! Let your students know that you’ll set up shop somewhere public (say in the Trabant Food Court) and will be happy to chat over a cup of coffee or a snack some afternoon. You can pre-figure the conversation you’d like to have with them, by letting them know what you’ll be thinking about during this time. For example, you could say: “Now that we are midway through the course, I’ll be spending office hours thinking about which readings I should use again next semester and which ones maybe aren’t as effective. I’d love to hear your thoughts too.” Opening the door for student input is often a good way to begin meaningful conversations about the course content and skills with those students.