Conducting thesis defences remotely
On 17 March 2020, the University decided to switch to distance education and assessment as of 18 March 2020. This also applies to defences of doctoral theses.
A doctoral thesis shall be defended orally in public according to the Higher Education Ordinance. That the defence is to take place in public means that the general public is to be given access to it.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) has stated that it does not consider that there are any legal obstacles to doctoral students, examining committees and other participants in a thesis defence attending remotely via a link. UKÄ has also stated that they consider the requirement for public access can be met by the public being given the opportunity to follow the thesis defence via a link using a computer.
The University should also provide a venue where the public can follow the thesis defence using a digital solution. However, the Swedish Public Health Agency’s recommendations on social contacts are also to be taken into account.
LU conference can record lectures and make them available on demand or stream events live, connecting participants from abroad in a variety of ways. Contact LU Conferences for more information at bokning [at] service [dot] lu [dot] se.
Can thesis defences be conducted remotely?
Yes, thesis defences can be conducted remotely. See statement by the UKÄ above.
How are we to issue a notification of the date of a forthcoming thesis defence
Through a notification on the start page of the public authority’s website and also on the public authority’s official notice board.
What information is to be included in the notification of a date for the thesis defence?
The following information should be included in the notification:
- Name of the doctoral student
- Topic of the thesis
- Title of the thesis
- Date and time of the thesis defence
- Venue for the thesis defence
- Link to livestreaming of the thesis defence
How do we fulfil the requirement of public access to the thesis defence?
In two ways:
- A) The thesis defence is filmed and livestreamed via a link to which the public have access via private computers, and
- B) The thesis defence is also filmed and livestreamed on a screen at one of the University’s venues to which the public is granted access. The faculty assigns a host, who will be present at the venue, receive the public and manage technical matters.
Regarding requirement B: The number of participants must be limited in accordance with government decisions. To reduce the risk of spreading the virus among the participants, the following general measures should be taken according to the Swedish Public Health Agency:
- Carry out a risk assessment, in accordance with the Swedish Public Health Agency’s recommendations – each faculty is responsible for this.
- Provide information in advance stating that people with symptoms of respiratory infection are not to attend the event.
- Provide good capacity for satisfactory hand hygiene, either hand washing with soap and running water, or, if this is not possible, access to hand sanitiser.
- Provide information on public hygiene advice (e.g. posters)
- The venue should be adapted to enable participants and audience members to maintain an appropriate distance from each other.
How can we conduct the thesis defence remotely in practical terms?
By each one of the participants, doctoral student, supervisor, external reviewer, chair and other members of the examining committee being available via a video conference. The faculty has an obligation to ensure that there are technical staff on hand who can assist the participants to start up the video conference. This could be the same person acting as host at the venue to which the public is granted access to see the livestreamed thesis defence.
LU Conferences offer online solutions for thesis defences and lectures. LU Conferences can connect participants from other countries and can film lectures, making them available on demand or via livestreaming. Contact LU Conferences to find out more, +46 46 222 77 17 or richie [dot] gray [at] service [dot] lu [dot] se.
How do we identify the doctoral student with certainty?
In that the doctoral student is visible to the audience and examining committee, the doctoral student concerned can be identified with certainty.
How do we check that there is no cheating?
To check that there is no cheating, e.g. that another person out of shot is helping with answers, it is appropriate for at least one person representing the University as organiser of the examination to be physically present at the same place as the doctoral student. This role could be filled by the person appointed as chair of the thesis defence.
How do we provide copies of the thesis?
At the time of the notification of the thesis defence, the doctoral thesis is to be available at the University so that it is possible to review the thesis at the thesis defence. Copies of the thesis are to be available at the same venue where the video conference will be held at least three weeks before the scheduled date of the thesis defence.
If you have questions about the corona crisis, you as an employee should first and foremost contact your line manager.
You can also send questions to: corona [at] lu [dot] se