Choosing technology for the oral examination
The supervisor and student are responsible for choosing an appropriate preferred technology for the oral examination, based on the following considerations:
An alternative technology must always be provided as the back-up if the technology of choice fails;
The technology must be secure and appropriate under current FOIPP guidelines and
Alberta legislation, with reasonable expectation of security and privacy; An appropriate technology is one that allows for effective communication, is ethical and culturally sensitive, and will not be a detriment to the student’s defense;
The supervisor is responsible for ensuring that all committee members have access to and familiarity with the proposed technology;
The technology must be synchronous, not asynchronous (e.g. everyone must be present and active for the fixed duration of the examination);
If the student chooses to use the technology with additional cost on the student’s end, it is the student’s responsibility to bear that cost (e.g. videoconferencing facilities).
The supervisor ensures that the type of technology allows the adjudication deliberations to occur in private, with only the examination committee members and the chair (if applicable) present;
That the technology allows the supervisor to re-establish communication with the student after deliberations are completed.
The FGS is responsible for the management of the technology, including the availability of any necessary technical support, for the duration of the oral examination at the university end. The student is responsible for same at the distant site, as are distance participants from the committee.
Normally, the FGS will connect to the student or make available to the student the means for the communication.
The FGS can provide the student and examination committee members with the Adobe Connect url if this technology will be used;
The student and committee will be given sufficient time in advance of the start of the oral examination to set up and test the presentation software or other technology used (15 to 30 minutes).
In the event that the examination is interrupted for up to 30 minutes (for one length of time or several periods of time during the examination) or if connections cannot be reestablished within that time, the examination will be rescheduled.
The rescheduled examination will be considered the student’s first examination;
The supervisor or neutral chair must immediately notify the FGS regarding the interruption;
Back-up technology must be available to the primary technology selected. For example, phone numbers of each of the committee members must be available should the supervisor need to establish contact with them during the examination. A toll free number that all members and the student could use to reconnect as a teleconference may comprise a back-up strategy also. The back-up information should have been included on the Notice of Oral Examination forms External Examiner and Notice for Final Thesis Oral Exam (Master’s), Notice of Candidacy Oral Examination (Doctoral) or Notice of Dissertation Oral Examination (Doctoral)
The student and supervisor are responsible for proposing an appropriate location for the oral examination. Location may be determined by the availability of the technology. If the student is from outside Canada, an institution recognized by AU may be used by the student. The location or institution must be approved by the supervisor and FGS four (4) weeks prior to the anticipated oral examination date. If the setting requires payment, this is the student's responsibility. AU has a list of approved exam invigilation sites in Canada that students may use http://www.athabascau.ca/registrar/invignet/ab.php
No one in addition to the student can be present at the student’s location unless preapproved by the FGS;
For the oral examinations that are 'open' (the final thesis and final dissertation oral examinations):
All observers must apply in advance to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) for permission to attend;
The academic unit sets the maximum number of attendees present. The total number includes the student, the committee members, the proctor, if applicable, and any observers;
Observers are not allowed to participate in any part of the oral examination unless they have advance permission from the chair;
Observers are not allowed to exit or enter during the oral examination. They must be present for the duration of the presentation and question period;
The observers must exit or will be disconnected (depending upon the technology) immediately after the question period.
A designate of FGS will be available by phone or email to address issues that arise prior to or during the oral examination. This designate may be the chair for the oral examination. In the event that FGS or the designate cannot be reached, the Dean or the Director of the academic unit will have the decision-making authority. If the latter are unavailable, the supervisor will have the authority.