One of the best things in the Physics department at the University of Leicester is the the open door policy. Unlike some universities the physics department at Leicester does not have office hours, instead they have a policy which means that you should always be able to get hold of a lecturer who can help with your problem. This means that if you, say, did not understand something during a lecture you could later go to that lecturer’s office and most likely they will be able to help you there and then. Of course there maybe circumstances when that particular lecturer is busy, in which case you can organise a later time to see them or see a different lecturer. In 9/10 times I have visited lecturers offices I have been able to get help right away.
Through my year of university I think I have found the best way to make the most of the open door policy. If you are at university and you just have a very brief question, of course, you should just quickly pop into their office. However, if you have a number of questions or you want to go through something you know will take some time, I would email them and make sure they understand that you want 15+ minutes of their time. This way you organise a time and date which is convenient for both of you and your meeting won’t be cut of short due to the lecture’s other commitments.
Another time I find emailing lecturers useful is during exam time. When I am going through past papers for different modules, I end up having a bunch of questions for different lecturers. Rather than running between different offices, my house and the library, I either scan in my working out or take a picture of my work along with an explanation of what I am confused about. In most cases I get a swift reply pointing out an error, an over simplification, or a incorrect assumption I have made. I find that this is the most efficient way to communicate with lecturers, especially at exam time.
I don’t think enough students realise how helpful the open door policy is. I wholeheartedly recommend taking advantage of it, I think it is one of the greatest benefits of studying at the University of Leicester.
“Do not be afraid to ask for help. Nobody gets through college on their own.”