GPS continues to support the McGill graduate community with staff working remotely.

FAQ: Online Oral Defences

How will online defences be conducted in the current context?

The videoconference link for online defences is set up in Zoom. GPS initiates the meeting and sends the link along with instructions to the Defence Committee, the Candidate and the Pro-Dean. Departments should not set up their own Zoom links for defences. For more information on setting up the oral defence, visit the GPS website.

Consult this document for more information on conducting oral defences online.

Can an oral defence be held on campus?

Public health measures currently allow for Tier 2 activities to be held on campus. As the public health situation evolves, this may change. Tier 2 activities are considered enhanced in-person activities but are not mandatory. An oral defence can be held on campus under Tier 2 if the conditions listed in this checklist are met. Only members of the McGill community (students, faculty, staff) will be allowed in the room. When requesting an on-campus oral defence, the unit must submit a duly completed checklist to GPS along with the Oral Defence Form. For hybrid defences (with some committee members attending in person and others via Zoom), the Zoom link will be set up and managed by GPS, just like for regular online defences.

Who sets up the online defence?

Scheduling of the defence (date, time) remains the responsibility of the graduate program using the Online Oral Defence Calendar). However, scheduling the defence on Zoom falls under the purview of GPS. GPS will set up the videoconference link for the confirmed date and time.

What if there are technical difficulties during an online defence?

A member of GPS support staff will be monitoring the defence to provide technical support in real time, as needed.

Can I invite my friends and family to watch the defence online?

It is possible to make a request for a live stream of your online defence. The Oral Defence Form now has a section asking if 1) live streaming is requested and 2) committee members consent to live streaming. Please ensure that this section is filled appropriately. If everyone consents to the live stream, GPS sets it up on YouTube and provides you with a link to share with friends and family. The online defence itself will still be conducted using Zoom. The live stream will feature the presentation and follow-up question period only. It will not show the pre-defence Committee meeting or the Committee deliberation period, nor will it show the portion of the defence where the Candidate receives the results of the deliberation. There will be no audience questions, for technical reasons.

Can the defence be recorded to be shared with friends and family afterwards?

The stream video will not available on YouTube after the defence. It is a live stream only.

The Pro-Dean and Defence Committee normally meet privately before the defence gets underway, to ensure everyone is present and to agree on defence proceedings. How will this be conducted in an online setting?

The pre-defence meeting will be held on Zoom. The Candidate will be placed in a virtual Waiting Room for the duration of the pre-defence meeting. GPS will manage the process for the Waiting Room.

How will committee deliberations be held during online defences?

Once the committee is ready to deliberate, the Candidate is placed in a virtual Waiting Room and let back in once the committee has reached a decision. GPS will manage the process for the Waiting Room.

I will act as the Pro-Dean for an upcoming defence, now to be held online. I am concerned about the technical aspects of the online defence. What should I do if one of the committee members loses connectivity during the defence?

Thank you for agreeing to serve as a Pro-Dean. Your role will be the same as in a traditional oral defence, i.e. you will oversee the proceedings and will have final authority on any academic decisions that need to be taken during the defence. You will also receive specific guidelines related to online defences. Rest assured, a member of GPS support staff will be available to address technical issues, if any, in real time. We have already held a number of defences online without a glitch.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License.
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, McGill University.

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