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Digital disputation

Information about how to prepare for and conduct a digital disputation/public defence. These routines outlined here have been put in place to ensure that the defence is still in accordance with the rules at University of Stavanger, but also to avoid unwanted or unnecessary disturbances during the defence.

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Digital disputation

General information about using Zoom for a digital defence

The general information applies to everyone who wishes to attend a digital defence. In addition, depending on your role in the defence, you may have specific responsibilities listed below.

  • The defence will still follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will still be open to the public and the audience can ask questions when invited to do so.
  • If the defence is partially digital you can sit in the audience, provided that you sign up beforehand. The sign up form will can be found on the defence announcement website.
  • If the defence is partially digital you may also follow the defence digitally. The link to the defence will follow defence announcement.
  • You can follow it in Zoom even if you are not affiliated with UiS, all you need is either to install Zoom or run Zoom in a browser. There will be a Zoom link to each individual defence on the defence announcement.
  • The Zoom session will start 30 minutes before the defence. This is to sort out technical issues before the defence starts. We recommend that everyone is present for this, regardless of whether they will play an active part in the defence or not.
  • If you intend to speak during the defence we recommend using a headset with a microphone, rather than to rely on the built-in microphone of your laptop. This reduces background noise and increases sound quality.
  • We also recommend using an ethernet connection (ethernet cable), rather than wireless Internet connection.
  • We recommend sitting alone in a room during the defence, to limit noise and disturbances in the background. Anything or anyone appearing in the background will be visible to everyone else in the audience.
  • To limit disturbances from other applications on your own computer, please turn off sounds and notifications from other apps, such as mail clients or websites.
  • Please turn off the sound on your mobile phone during the defence, at least if you are going to actively participate in the defence.
  • If your are not speaking, mute your microphone. If you are a member of the audience you will not be allowed to unmute your own microphone unless you are invited to speak.
  • If you are a member of the audience you will not be able to share your video during the defence.
  • The chat function will only be open when the audience is invited to ask questions, and after the defence is finished, so you will not be able to use it during the defence.
  • Please do not share your screen unless you are actively part of the discussion. As a member of the audience you will not be able to share your screen at all.
  • You will not be able to record the defence, even though there is a record-button in Zoom. We ask that you do not take screenshots during the defence either, without the consent of every participant.

Completely or partially digital defence

Here you will find information about the different versions of digital defence. In order to conduct a partially digital defence the necessary technical equipment and appropriate rooms need to be available, and that the candidate, the chair of the defence and the chair of the committee are not in a high risk group, otherwise the defence will have to be completely digital.

  • A completely digital defence makes use of Zoom for all communication, and is conducted as a Zoom- meeting. All participants are in separate locations, following the defence using their own computer.
  • A completely digital defence is conducted as a Zoom-meeting. This means that only invited participants will be able to show video, control their own microphone and share a screen. Everyone else will only be able to watch and listen, and can be granted permission to turn on their microphone if they should ask for it. The Zoom -meeting will be set up and controlled by a defence technician.
  • By sharing their screen the candidate can show slides and present their work to the opponents and anyone else following the defence.
  • The defence will still follow regular procedure as far as possible. It will therefore be open to the public, and anyone who wishes to ask questions can do so ex auditorio when invited to do so by the chair of the defence after the opponents have finished asking their questions.

  • A partially digital defence takes place on campus in a lecture room, with an audience, but the opponents participate in Zoom. The defence can be followed remotely by anyone who wishes to do so.
  • A certain number of rooms on campus have been approved as lecture rooms for partially digital defences. This is given by the technical equipment found in these rooms. These rooms have a camera, so that Zoom can be used to communicate with the opponents.
  • There are two options for a partially digital defence. The candidate, the chair of the committee, the chair of the defence and an audience can be present in the room, the opponents participate through a regular Zoom meeting, and anyone who wishes to watch the defence digitally can do so from the defence website.
  • It may be possible to set up solutions for submitting questions to the candidate, which the chair of the committee will read out at the end of the defence, (digital ex auditorio).
  • To attend this type of defence in person one must sign up. You can only attend in person if you have signed up and received confirmation that there is room for you. The candidate, the chair of the defence, the chair of the committee and the technician do not need to sign up as they have to be present. The candidate can reserve up to eight extra seats for their own supervisors, family, colleagues, friends, etc. These people still need to be signed up, but will have priority inn cases where there is not room for everyone who tries to sign up.
  • Due to requirements of social distancing to limit contagion, it is likely that the defence will take place in one of the larger auditoriums. Everyone present at the defence will be asked to sit as far apart from each other as possible.

Digital trial lecture

The procedure when conducting your trial lecture as a Zoom meetign depends on whether you are going to have a completely digital or partially digital defence.

A partially digital trial lecture takes place on campus in a lecture room, with an audience, but the opponents participate in Zoom. The trial lecture can be followed remotely by anyone who wishes to do so. In order to sit in the actual audience one must sign up beforehand. The candidate can reserve up to eight seats for their own supervisors, family, colleagues, friends, etc. These people still need to be signed up, but will have priority inn cases where there is not room for everyone who tries to sign up. For anyone else the rule is that they can only attend in person if they have signed up and received confirmation that there is room for them.

The trial lecture is conducted like a normal lecture, where you can show slides. The opponents will be able to follow through Zoom. It is important that you speak into the microphone, to ensure that the opponents can hear you.

If you need to use a blackboard during your defence, we recommend using a tablet/iPad with a pen as a virtual board, and share that screen in Zoom. This is the recommended solution even if there is a blackboard in the room where the defence will be, as it will be easier for your opponents to see what you write on a digital board.

At a completely digital trial lecture is conducted without any audience present in the room with you. You should make sure that you are seated in a room with a good Internet connection. If you do not have an appropriate room available at home you can use an office or a similar small room on campus. If you no longer have an office at the university, you can contact your local ph.d. administration, and they will help facilitate.

A completely digital trial lecture is conducted as a Zoom meeting. This means that only invited participants will be able to show video, control their own microphone and share a screen. Everyone else will only be able to watch and listen, and can be granted permission to turn on their microphone if they should ask for it. The meetng will be set up and controlled by a defence technician.

The PhD candidate's responsibilities

The preparations and procedure during the defence will depend on whether the defence is partially or completely digital. Your defence can be conducted as a partially digital defence if appropriate rooms are available, and neither you nor the chair of the defence or the chair of the committee have increased risk of severe illness from Covid-19. Start by contacting your local ph.d. administration regarding the planning of your digital defence.

  • There is no guarantee that you can choose a partially digital defence, as it requires that the necessary equipment is available and that it causes no unnecessary risk of contagion. If you, the chair of the defence or the chair of the committee are in a high risk group, the defence will have to be completely digital.
  • Please make sure you are in contact with the PhD administration regarding the planning of your digital defence.
  • Prior to your defence you should familiarise yourself with Zoom as a tool, if you have not already done so. You will only be able to communicate with your opponents through Zoom during the defence.
  • If you need to use a blackboard during your defence, we recommend using a tablet/iPad with a pen as a virtual board, and share that screen in Zoom. This is the recommended solution even if there is a blackboard in the room where the defence will be, as it will be easier for your opponents to see what you write on a digital board. You may be able borrow a tablet/iPad from the University, if needed. Contact your unit to see if this is possible for you.
  • Together with the PhD coordinator at your department and the PhD coordinators at your faculty, find a suitable date and time when you and your opponents are available. The coordinators will then assign a chair of the defence and a technician to facilitate your defence.

    The day before the defence, you will have a practice defence in the room where the defence will take place, together with a technician, the chair of your defence and the chair of the committee.
  • The opponents will also take part in the practice session, through Zoom. You should use the same equipment (camera, microphone) and location (lecture room) for this test meeting as you will do during the defence.
  • For the actual defence you should show up in the defence lecture room no later than 30 minutes before the defence will start, to ensure that everything works properly, that you can share your slides in Zoom, etc.
  • The PhD coordinator will be the host of the Zoom defence. During the defence, remember to share your screen to show slides or other digital material. PhD coordinator will be silent during most of the defence, and is not there to take over responsibilities of the other participants, but to ensure that the technical aspect of the defence is managed properly.
  • Anyone who wishes to attend your defence can do so by signing up prior to the defence. They must have been granted a seat in the lecture room in order to attend. Due to space limitations there will be a maximum number of audience members allowed. As the candidate you will have eight seats at your disposal to give to anyone you wish, such as supervisors, family, friends and colleagues. These people will still need to sign up (to track any possible infection), but are guaranteed a seat in the room.
  • For those who wish to watch your defence remotely, it will be streamed live. It will also be possible to ask questions in writing from this website (ex auditorio).
  • When either the first or the second of the opponents is satisfied the chair of the defence will invite everyone in the audience to serve as an opponent ex auditorio. Anyone following the defence digitally will be able to submit questions in writing, and these will be read out by the chair of the committee.
  • When all questions are answered you will leave the room in procession with the chair of the committee and the chair of the defence. The chair of the defence and the chair of the committee will leave for a private meeting with the opponents in Zoom, where the committee can discuss your work. Once the committee has agreed on your fate, you can all return to the defence lecture room, and the chair of the defence will announce the result. The defence is now over.
  • If technical issues occur that simply cannot be resolved right away, the chair of the defence will pause the defence until the issues can be solved. If it still cannot be solved, the defence may need to be called off and rescheduled.
  • Keep in mind that any party or dinner following the defence is a private event, and you are responsible for following the current regulations and recommendations given by Norwegian health authorities.
  • If you have any questions regarding your defence, please contact your faculty administration.

  • Please make sure you are in contact with the PhD administration regarding your digital defence. When doing so you must also decide if you need to use an office at UiS during your defence, or if you can conduct the defence from home or an office elsewhere.
  • Prior to your defence you should familiarise yourself with Zoom as a tool, if you have not already done so. Make sure that your microphone and video works well, and that you have access to a stable Internet connection.
  • If you need to use a blackboard during your defence, we recommend using a tablet/iPad with a pen as a virtual board, and share that screen during the Zoom session. You may be able borrow a tablet/iPad from the University, if needed. Contact your unit to see if this is possible for you.
  • Together with the PhD coordinator at your department and the PhD coordinators at your faculty, find a suitable date and time when you and your opponents are available. The coordinators will then assign a chair of the defence and a technician to facilitate your defence.
  • The digital defence will be conducted as a Zoom meeting.
  • For the actual defence you must join the Zoom meeting using your personal link sent to you by the PhD coordinator, no later than 30 minutes before the defence will start.
  • The PhD coordinator will be the host of the Zoom defence, but you will be a co-host, which means you should control your own microphone and must mute/unmute yourself. During the defence, remember to share your screen to show slides or other digital material. The PhD coordinator will be silent during most of the defence, and is not there to take over responsibilities of the other participants, but to ensure that the technical aspect of the defence is managed properly.
  • The day before the defence, you will have a practice defence in Zoom with a PhD coordinator and the chair of your defence. If possible, the opponents will also take part in the practice session. You should use the same equipment (camera, microphone) and location (office) for this test meeting as you will do during the defence.
  • During the defence we recommend that you shut down all other programs on your laptop, so that the only things running are Zoom, a digital copy of your thesis and your presentation of your work.
  • Anyone who wishes to attend your defence can do so by connecting to the Zoom session using the Zoom meeting ID, and get access to your thesis. Both will be available on the defence announcement.
  • When either the first or the second opponent is satisfied, the chair of the defence will invite everyone in the audience to serve as an opponent ex auditorio.
  • When all questions are answered, the committee and the chair of the defence will need to leave the defence to discuss your work in a private Zoom meeting. Do not leave zoom. Once the committee has agreed, they will return to the Zoom defence and announce their decision.
  • When the formal disputation is over, you may celebrate digitally afterwards if you want.
  • If technical issues occur that simply cannot be resolved right away, the chair of the defence will pause the defence until the issues can be solved. If it still cannot be solved, the defence may need to be called off and rescheduled.
  • If you have any questions regarding your defence, please contact your faculty administration.

The responsibilities of the opponents

In addition to your regular responsibilities in relation to a public defence, some additional preparation is needed for a digital defence. There are some minor differences between a completely digital and a partially digital defence. You will be informed prior to the defence whether it will be completely or partially digital.

In addition to your regular responsibilities in relation to a public defence, some additional preparation is needed for a digital defence.

  • Before the defence you should familiarise yourself with Zoom, which will be used for all communication purposes during the defence.
  • If you have the opportunity and want to be physically present at the defence, rather than join through Zoom, you are welcome to do so.
  • You do not need to have your own Zoom licence to join a Zoom meeting. You can use the link to the Zoom meeting provided by the host of the defence.
  • Keep in mind that using Zoom on a Remote Desktop does not work. You must have the Zoom desktop client installed on the laptop or computer you are using. Read more about Zoom.
  • We strongly recommend that you use a headset during the defence, rather than rely on the built-in microphone on your computer/laptop.
  • Make sure your microphone and camera work, and that you have a stable Internet connection.
  • The defence will be conducted as a meeting in Zoom. The link to this meeting should only be distributed, never published online anywhere. The PhD coordinator will set up this meeting and send you an invitation.
  • For the actual defence you must join the Zoom meeting no later than 30 minutes before the defence will start.
  • You will be a co-host during the defence Zoom meeting. This means that you will be able to control your own microphone and share a screen if needed.
  • During the defence your microphone should be muted when you are not speaking, to reduce background noise. Whenever you need to speak, your must unmute your microphone.
  • There will be a PhD coordinator present during the defence. The PhD coordinator is there to ensure that the technical side of the defence works well, but she or he will not be responsible for controlling your microphone or screen sharing for you.
  • The day before the defence there will be a practice session in Zoom for the candidate, the chair of the defence, the chair of the committee and a PhD coordinator. You must also take part in this practice session. You should use the same equipment (camera, microphone) and location (office) for this test meeting as you will do during the defence.
  • During your part of the examination you may choose to share your screen in order to show material, such as slides containing questions or excerpts from the digital version of the thesis. To make this as simple as possible, we recommend that you limit yourself to as few different sources as possible, and make screenshots of the pages in the thesis that your questions pertain to, rather than jump between slides and thesis.
  • When the defence is finished, and the audience has been offered the chance to serve as opponents ex auditorio, the candidate, the chair of the defence and the chair of the committee will leave the lecture room. The chair of the committee and the chair of the defence will use a separate room near the lecture room for this, bringing a laptop with them, start private Zoom meeting and join you. Once you have reached a decision, you must return to the main Zoom meeting for defence. The chair of the committee, the chair of the defence and the candidate will return to the lecture room.
  • After you have returned to the main session and the chair of the defence, the chair of the committee and the candidate have returned to the lecture room, the chair of the defence will announce your decision regarding the candidate and say a few concluding remarks. At this point the defence is finished and you may close Zoom if you wish.
  • If technical issues occur that simply cannot be resolved right away, the chair of the defence will pause the defence until the issues can be solved. If it still cannot be solved, the defence may need to be called off and rescheduled.
  • If you have any questions please contact the appropriate faculty administration.

In addition to your regular responsibilities in relation to a public defence, some additional preparation is needed for a digital defence.

  • Before the defence you should familiarise yourself with Zoom, which will be used for all communication purposes during the defence.
  • You do not need to have your own Zoom licence to join a Zoom meeting. You can use the link to the Zoom meeting provided by the host of the defence.
  • Keep in mind that using Zoom on a Remote Desktop does not work. You must have the Zoom desktop client installed on the laptop or computer you are using. Read more about Zoom.
  • We strongly recommend that you use a headset during the defence, rather than rely on the built-in microphone on your computer/laptop.
  • For the actual defence you must join the Zoom meeting using your personal link sent to you by the PhD coordinator, no later than 30 minutes before the defence will start.
  • Make sure your microphone and camera work, and that you have a stable Internet connection.
  • The defence will be conducted as a Zoom meeting, and you can mute and unmute your own microphone, and share your screen if needed.
  • During the defence your microphone should be muted when you are not speaking, to reduce background noise. Whenever you need to speak, your must unmute your microphone.
  • There will be a PhD coordinator present during the defence. The PhD coordinator is there to ensure that the technical side of the defence works well, but they will not be responsible for controlling your microphone or screen sharing for you.
  • The day before the defence there will be a practice session in Zoom for the candidate, the chair of the defence and a PhD coordinator. You should also take part in this practice session. You should use the same equipment (camera, microphone) and location (office) for this test meeting as you will do during the defence.
  • During your part of the examination you may choose to share your screen in order to show material, such as slides containing questions or excerpts from the digital version of the thesis. To make this as simple as possible, we recommend that you limit yourself to as few different sources as possible, and make screenshots of the pages in the thesis that your questions pertain to, rather than jump between slides and thesis.
  • When the defence is finished, you will need to leave the webinar in order for the committee to discuss and evaluate the candidate. The committee administrator will invite you to a separate Zoom meeting where this will take place. Once you have reached a conclusion you must all return to the defence Zoom meeting.
  • After you have returned to the main session and the chair of the defence has announced your decision regarding the candidate, you may disconnect from Zoom.
  • If technical issues occur that simply cannot be resolved right away, the chair of the defence will pause the defence until the issues can be solved. If it still cannot be solved, the defence may need to be called off and rescheduled.
  • If you have any questions please contact the appropriate faculty administration.

The responsibilities of the PhD coordinator

The PhD coordinator is the host of the defence, and is responsible for managing all participants during the entire defence.

Responsibilities as host

  • Conduct a practice defence session in Zoom, together with the candidate, the chair of the defence and the committee (provided they are available) the day before the defence. During this practice session, make sure to inform the candidate and the chair of the defence about how the digital defence will be conducted, how to mute/unmute themselves and share screen.
  • As host, you must schedule the disputation in Zoom, and ensure that all necessary participants are invited. Those who have to be present, in addition to yourself, are the candidate, the chair of the defence, the chair of the committee, the first and second opponents.
  • Others may choose to attend, but will most likely not play an active part in the defence.
  • You will be the host, the chair of the defence, the candidate, and the committee will be the co-host (1. opponent, 2. opponent and the chair of the committee). Everyone else will be attendees.
  • Remind the chair of the defence, the candidate and the committee to mute themselves when they are not speaking. If they forget, you should do it for them.
  • The candidate and the opponents should keep their camera on during the entire defence. The chair of the defence only needs to have their camera on when they speak. The chair of the committee only needs to speak privately with the rest of the committee (read more about that below).
  • Even though Zoom allows for more than one person to share a screen at the same time, we advice against using this option as it does not work optimally. Instead, we recommend one person sharing at a time, and changing between candidate and opponents sharing whenever necessary.
  • When the chair of the defence invites the audience to ask questions ex auditorio, you must monitor the participants to see if anyone "raises a hand", signalling that they wish to ask a question. At this point you must either invite them to ask the question in writing in the chat or to ask it directly, by unmuting them.
  • The chat function should be turned off for attendees during the defence. Only turn it on if someone wishes to ask a question ex auditorio.
  • When it is time for the opponents, the chair of the defence and the chair of the committee to "leave" in order to decide if the candidate has been found worthy of the degree of PhD. The committee administratort will invite both opponents to the separate Zoom meeting.
  • When the committee returns to the defence, the chair of the defence will then announce their decision and say a few concluding words, after which the formal defence is over.
  • You can also transfer the role of host to the candidate or a supervisor, so that there may be some time afterwards for speeches and well-wishes, that you do not need to be part of unless you want to.
  • If technical issues occur that simply cannot be resolved right away, the chair of the defence will pause the defence until the issues can be solved. If it still cannot be solved, the defence may need to be called off and rescheduled.



The trial defence session

  • You are responsible for creating the Zoom session for the trial defence. This should be done in the same way as you set up the real defence (see below), making the candidate, chair fo the defence and the opponents as a co-host.
  • Remind all participants that they should use the same equipment (microphone and camera) and location (office) during the trial session as they will during the defence.
  • All active participants should be invited to try sharing a screen. You will probably need to change the share screen settings to allow panelists to share a screen.
  • Show functionality related to managing participants, changing view options, chat, etc.
  • Invite the chair of the defence to explain routines during a regular defence, and the responsibilities of the opponents.

Prior to the start of the general defence

  • The digital defence webinar meeting start at least 30 minutes before the official public defence, to allow for participants to connect, test microphones and camera, and figure out how to work with Zoom.
  • Disable the chat function for attendees. This will need to be enabled again when the chair of the defence invites the audience to ask questions at the end of the defence.
  • Set the Attendee view to Speaker view (in the participant panel).
  • During this start-up period (practice session), you as a host, should cover a few ground rules before starting out. This should cover:
  • The candidate and the members of the committee should not leave the meeting until the chair of the defence officially declares that the defence is finished.
  • How microphones should be muted whenever you are not supposed to speak.

The general procedure during a defence

  • The chair of the defence will start the defence by introducing the candidate
  • The candidate will take over and present their work. This will most likely involve screen sharing to present slides or a "blackboard" from an iPad. In some faculties this presentation is made by the first opponent, rather than the candidate.
  • The chair of the defence presents the first opponent who then takes over and puts the candidate's work into a larger context. This is also likely to involve screen sharing, but only the first opponent needs to speak.
  • After placing the candidate's work in a larger context, the first opponent will ask questions for the candidate. They may also want to jump back and forth between the opponents screen sharing and the candidate's screen sharing.
  • When the first opponent is finished, there may be a short break, but that will be decided by the chair of the defence. In some faculties that chair of the defence will now invite the audience to ask questions ex auditorio.
  • The chair of the defence introduces the second opponent who then takes over.
  • The second opponent and the candidate will have discussion.
  • When the second opponent is finished asking questions, the chair of the defence will usually say a few words before inviting the audience to ask questions ex auditorio (provided they have not already been invited to do so after the first opponent finished). Anyone who wishes to ask a question can signal by raising their hand. The host can see this by clicking on "Participants", and look for a red hand next to a participant's name.
  • When the potential questions from the audience have been answered, the chair of the defence will invite the candidate to say a few words, typically thank the committee, supervisors, etc.
  • Finally, the two opponents, the chair of the defence and the chair of the committee will leave the defence Zoom meeting to join a separate Zoom meeting to confer and reach a decision about the candidate's work. Everyone else may stay in the main session.
  • The committee and the chair fo the defence then need to return to the defence Zoom meeting and the chair of the defence will announce their decision, and say a few words about what will happen afterwards, and officially end the defence.

The PhD coordinator functions as a host for the defence, and is responsible for managing technical aspects during the entire defence. A partially digital defence is conducted in a lecture room on campus, but the opponents participate through Zoom.

Technical setup at a partially digital defence

At a partially digital defence the candidate, the chair of the defence and the chair of the committee will be present in the room. The two opponents participate through Zoom in a regular Zoom meeting.

The defence will also be streamed, so that anyone who wishes to follow it digitally can do so. Near the end of the defence, when the chair of the defence offers the audience to ask questions, the chair of the committee will read out any written questions submitted during the defence.

A partially digital defence requires a lecture room with the following equipment:

  • Camera showing whoever is speaking
  • Canvas and projector
  • Zoom installed.
  • Possibility to share a screen so that slides shown with the projector is also visible in Zoom.
  • Table microphone
  • Headset microphone for the candidate (if possible and wanted)
  • Tablet/iPad to be used as a digital board that can be shared in Zoom so everyone can see what is written (if needed and available).
  • This is just a minimum requirement. If your unit has better equipment available, feel free to use it as long as the procedure and guidelines are followed.

Responsibilities as host

  • You will be the host of the Zoom meeting.
  • Conduct a practice defence together with the candidate, the chair of the defence and the committee (who will participate via Zoom) the day before the defence. Read more about the practice defence below.
  • As host, you must schedule the disputation in Zoom, and ensure that all necessary participants are invited. Those who have to be present, in addition to yourself, are the chair of the committee, the first and second opponents and the candidate. The candidate, the chair of the defence and the chair of the committee will be present in the room.
  • You will be the host, but you must make the candidate, and 1. and 2. opponent co-hosts.
  • Only the host and co-hosts should be allowed to share a screen or control their own microphone.
  • Remind the opponents to mute themselves when they are not speaking. If they forget, you should do it for them.
  • Even though Zoom allows for more than one person to share a screen at the same time, we advice against using this option as it does not work optimally. Instead, we recommend one person sharing at a time, and changing between candidate and opponents sharing whenever necessary.
  • When the opponents are finished asking their questions, the chair of the defence will invite the audience to ask questions ex auditorio. If anyone chooses to ask a question, they should either get a microphone (if available and possible), or the candidate should repeat the question before answering.
  • When all questions have been answered, the chair of the committee and the chair of the defence will go to a private meeting room to meet with the opponents and discuss the work of the candidate. The chair of the committee is responsible for bringing a laptop so that they can start up Zoom and join the private Zoom meeting where the opponents are. When they are done discussing, the chair of the committee, the chair of the defence and the candidate will return to the lecture room. The chair of the defence will then announce their decision and say a few concluding words, after which the formal defence is over.
  • If technical issues occur that simply cannot be resolved right away, the chair of the defence will pause the defence until the issues can be solved. If it still cannot be solved, the defence may need to be called off and rescheduled.

The trial defence session

  • You are responsible for creating the Zoom session for the trial defence. This should be done in the same way as you set up the real defence. Read more about this below.
  • During the practice session you should follow the same steps as in the beginning of a real defence, and make the candidate and the opponents into co-hosts.
  • Remind the opponents that they should use the same equipment (microphone and camera) and location (office) during the trial session as they will during the defence.
  • All active participants should be invited to try sharing a screen and try shown slides to make sure everything is working.
  • Invite the chair of the defence to explain routines during a regular defence, and the responsibilities of the opponents.

Prior to the start of the general defence

  • The digital defence session should start 30 minutes before the official public defence, to allow for participants to connect, test microphones and camera, and figure out how to work with Zoom.
  • Select Mute all, and make sure no one can turn their microphone back on. There should not be any participants in this meeting besides the committee, but just in case.
  • Rename the opponents by adding their defence role to their name, so that it becomes clear who they are at all times.
  • Under "Advanced sharing options", check that only hosts can share a screen.
  • Disable the chat function.

The general procedure during a defence

  • The chair of the defence will start the defence by introducing the candidate.
  • The candidate will take over and present their work. This will most likely involve screen sharing to present slides or a "blackboard" from an iPad. (In some faculties this presentation is made by the 1. opponent, not the candidate.)
  • The chair of the defence presents the first opponent who then takes over and puts the candidate's work into a larger context. This is also likely to involve screen sharing, but only the first opponent needs to speak.
  • After placing the candidate's work in a larger context, the first opponent will ask questions to the candidate. They may also want to jump back and forth between the opponents screen sharing and the candidate's screen sharing.
  • When the first opponent is finished, there may be a short break, but that will be decided by the chair of the defence. In some faculties that chair of the defence will now invite the audience to ask questions ex auditorio.
  • The chair of the defence introduces the second opponent who then takes over.
  • The second opponent and the candidate will have a discussion.
  • When the second opponent is finished asking questions, the chair of the defence will usually say a few words before inviting the audience to ask questions ex auditorio (provided they have not already been invited to do so after the first opponent finished). If anyone has sent in written questions, the chair of the committee will read these out.
  • When the potential questions from the audience have been answered, the chair of the defence will invite the candidate to say a few words, typically thank the committee, supervisors, etc.
  • Now the committee (opponents and the chair of the committee) and the chair of the defence will have a private conversation to discuss the candidate's work and (if they wish to) sign the official documents, etc. The chair of the defence and the chair of the committee will walk to a small meeting room. The chair of the committee is responsible for bringing a laptop, so they can start Zoom and join the private Zoom meeting where the opponents are.
  • When they are done the candidate, the chair of the defence and the chair of the committee will return to the lecture room. The candidate should be let back in to the Zoom meeting, to be able to communicate with the opponents again. The chair of the defence will announce the decision of the committee and say a few concluding remarks.
  • The defence is finished, and you can let someone else take over the Zoom meeting (if they wish to keep it going). Otherwise you can start shutting down.

The responsibilities of the chair of the committee

As the chair of the committee you need to learn how to use Zoom inn general. In addition you have some extra responsibility during a partially digital defence.

The responsibilities of the chair of the defence

I tillegg til det vanlige ansvaret du som disputasleder har under en disputas, er det litt ekstra å ta hensyn til under en digital disputas.

For other audience members

Det er ganske store forskjeller mellom en heldigital og en delvis digital disputas for publikum. Her kan du lese mer om hvordan du kan delta i publikum på slike disputaser.

Useful guideline documents

The purpose of the disputation is to make available, present and defend the thesis publicly. The provisions provided in the guidelines shall ensure that the disputation can continue to be considered public even in cases when the physical presence of certain parties is not possible.

Slik bruker du Zoom i disputaser ved UiS

Procedure for public defence of PhD dissertations TN

Procedure for public defence of PhD dissertations HV