Tips for remote candidacy and thesis defence oral exams using Zoom
The GPA ensures that the examinee, examiners, committee members and chair are aware of the exam format, time zone differences (if applicable) and back-up resources if Zoom fails:
- Mobile numbers should be exchanged and arrangements made to call if Zoom fails.
- Up to 60 minutes are allowed to resolve technical issues and then proceed.
- Ensure the chair has contact information for the associate dean in case technical issues cannot be resolved inside of 60 minutes.
The program (usually the GPA or the Neutral Chair) will schedule the Zoom meeting, using the following settings and security measures:
- Random meeting ID – this prevents the meeting ID from being shared multiple times.
- Password-protected Zoom classroom entry – all attendees will be required to enter a password provided.
- The neutral chair should be the host.
- Attendees' microphones should be automatically set to mute.
The examinee should share their presentation (if applicable) with the co-hosts at least .5 hrs prior to the exam. PowerPoint (16x9 aspect ratio) is the recommended format for presentation materials.
To ensure meeting quality and full access to Zoom conference features, the examinee should participate in the meeting using a laptop or desktop computer.
The Neutral Chair, examiners and examinee should enter the Zoom meeting 15 minutes ahead of the exam to prepare presentation materials and address any technical issues.
The Neutral Chair can allow the examinee to share their screen, and limit the same for all other attendees.
At the outset of the exam, establish methods for:
- How deliberations will take place (e.g., using the breakout room feature or requiring the examinee and guests to leave the exam and then contacting and re-admitting them at the conclusion of the deliberations)
- Conducting a straw vote
The remote exam may NOT be recorded.
Once the exam starts, the Neutral Chair should:
- Lock the meeting room to prevent additional/late attendees from joining
- Disable the private chat feature
- Allow the group chat ONLY for identifying technical issues
- Allow the Neutral Chair to mute other attendees
Deliberations may NOT be recorded.
The examinee and other attendees not on the exam committee must not be present for confidential deliberations. There are two options for ensuring confidential deliberations:
1. The examinee exits the meeting themselves.
- It is important that the examinee is NOT removed from the meeting by the Zoom meeting chair, or the examinee will NOT be able to re-enter the meeting.
- The chair must have a way to contact the examinee (e.g., text, phone or email) to invite them to re-join the meeting following deliberations.
2. The chair moves the exam committee into a confidential Zoom break-out room.
- The chair can do this manually by assigning participants to a break-out room. More information on using breakout rooms is available here.
- DO NOT use the Zoom polling feature to conduct a straw vote. It is recommended that the straw vote be conducted by committee members sending votes via UCalgary email addresses to the chair.
Upon conclusion of the exam procedures, after the examinee has rejoined the meeting and the outcome has been communicated to them, the Neutral Chair will acknowledge the close of proceedings. The Neutral Chair will then end the Zoom meeting.