Remote Thesis Defence Procedures

Remote thesis defence proceedures

In response to the suspension of face-to-face instruction and to maintain current requirements for social distancing, the Office of Research & Graduate Studies requests that all thesis defences be conducted in a fully remote format.  These remote thesis defences are now open to public audiences, and specific meeting connection instructions will be provided, by the program, in the email announcements that are distributed to the TRU community in advance of the event.

Online thesis defences may be conducted using any videoconferencing platform of the program’s choosing.  The program is responsible for familiarizing themselves with the platform’s features, scheduling the defence, and facilitating and moderating the defence. The graduate program is responsible for distributing connection instructions to the student, examining committee, neutral chair, and program coordinator.

Each defence should also be assigned at least one designated “meeting moderator” who has the ability to mute participants’ audio/video and set up and control breakout rooms (if being used for the committee’s private deliberations). The neutral chair may serve as a moderator if prepared to do so.

The student should arrange to email their PowerPoint presentation to the entire examining committee prior to the defence so that if any participant needs to connect by phone, they will still have the opportunity to follow along with the slides. After the committee completes their 2 rounds of questioning, and if time permits, audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions of the candidate. The chair will be responsible for coordinating questions; see section 2 for several suggested options.  

Responsibilities of the Neutral Chair

Please review the general guidelines for chairing a thesis defence in Appendix B (p. 10) of TRU’s Thesis Preparation and Defence Guidelines. For an online thesis defence, the neutral chair has the following additional responsibilities:

  • The chair has the authority to discontinue a remote defence at any time if they judge that remote participation is interfering with the proper conduct of a rigorous and fair defence.
  • If one or more participants is dropped from the connection, or if audio is lost, the defence must be paused until the connection is restored. If the connection cannot be restored, the chair must suspend the defence until it can be rescheduled.
  • The chair will coordinate questions from the audience (if time allows).
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