In their paper, “Using Virtual Office Hours to Enhance Student-Faculty Interaction”, Lei Li and Jennifer Pitts (2009) from Colorado State University found that students enrolled in courses that offered virtual office hours experienced a higher level of satisfaction than those students enrolled in traditional on-campus courses. Apparently, just by making the virtual office hours an option for students, regardless of whether they availed themselves of the opportunity, was enough to increase the students’ comfort level with the instructor and the online course.
Ll, L., Pitts, J. (2009). Does it really matter? Using virtual office hours to enhance student-faculty interaction. Journal of Information Systems Education, Vol 20. No. 2. http://jise.org/Volume20/20-2/Pdf/V20N2P175-abs.pdf