Defense Policies Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic
Fall 2021 Return to Campus. In-person defenses will resume as the standard exam format beginning with the reopening of on-campus activities in fall 2021. However, committees may continue to elect to conduct defenses online using tools such as Zoom and Skype without UGS approval.
The candidate and committee must agree to the defense format no later than 30 days prior to the defense date. Mixed in-person and online participation by the candidate and committee members should be avoided if possible. Public components of in-person defenses that would exceed gathering size limits must be facilitated online (see Public Components below).
In-person defenses must adhere to IU, City of Bloomington, Monroe County, and State of Indiana public health regulations; online defenses must utilize the best practices and guidelines described below.
Thesis and Dissertation Acceptance Pages. The online Defense Signature Collection Form will continue to be used in lieu of signed acceptance pages for both in-person and online defenses. The form will route to each member of the committee to record approval.
Best Practices for Conducting Defenses Online
Defense Format. Defenses conducted online should follow the same format and include the same components normally required by the department for in-person defenses as closely as possible. Any portions of the defense in which the candidate is not normally present may require the candidate to temporarily leave the conference and any recording to be paused.
Public Components. Departments should adapt their normal practices to allow for online public access. For online defenses, this could be facilitated through public distribution of the conference link after the defense has been formally scheduled. Following the public session, the conference should be restricted to the candidate and research committee only. See the resources below for participant management instructions for Zoom.
Logistical Guidelines for Online Defenses
Defenses conducted online during this period should follow these logistical guidelines:
- The candidate and all members of the committee must agree in advance to remote participation and to all video communication arrangements. Video conferences must be hosted by a member of the research committee or a department staff member and not by the candidate.
- The examining department is responsible for providing adequate technical accommodations that allow all participants to see and hear each other throughout the defense and to view any text, graphics, or other visuals referenced
- If, at the onset of the defense, these accommodations are not found to be adequate for the examination, the candidate or the research committee may elect to postpone the defense until a later date without penalty
- In the event of a technical failure, the defense proceedings must be stopped and may not resume until any technical issues are resolved
- Defenses conducted through remote technology may only be audio or video recorded with advance permission from the research committee chair and candidate and must adhere to departmental and school guidelines for recording defenses
Resources for Conducting Defenses Online
For additional help with Zoom, contact UITS Learning Spaces Support at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-856-2020.