Annex 6 - Guidance for online oral examinations

  1. An online oral examination by video link with one or more remote participants may be held where the candidate and the examiners agree to this approach and with School PGR Director and the Faculty PGR Director approval (see Section 9.4.8). The guidance below provides information on the preparation for online oral examinations.
  2. The candidate and/or any or all examiners may participate remotely in an oral examination. No pressure must be put on any party to assent to the oral examination being conducted partly or fully online. All reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that the candidate is not disadvantaged compared with the standard oral examination. The School PGR Director and the Faculty PGR Director must be confident that the candidate is content with an online oral examination before they approve the request. In addition, the Faculty PGR Director may decide to appoint an experienced academic as an Independent Chair if they decide that this would assist in ensuring the examination is fair and conducted in accordance with the University’s regulations (see Section 9.3.2). If the candidate is a remote participant, the Faculty PGR Director may require that an approved independent person, such as a member of academic staff from another academic institution, is present with the candidate for the oral examination.
  3. The video conferencing platform used for online oral examinations must be supported and licenced by the University of Bristol (IT Services provide information on appropriate platforms). The internal examiner or, where there are only external examiners, the Independent Chair is responsible for arranging an online oral examination.  
  4. Where an online oral examination is proposd, the following points should be observed:

    a)    The technology used must accommodate the anticipated needs of the examination.

    b)    The quality of the equipment to be used and the quality of the internet connection (particularly for the remote participant/s) must be taken into account when agreeing and arranging an online oral examination.

    c)     The online video conferencing facility and any required equipment should be available for sufficient time for the examination to take place. If there is doubt about the length of time required, every effort should be made to ensure that possible overrunning can be accommodated. It is recommended that any required equipment is are booked for at least one hour beyond the anticipated length of the examination.

    d)    Time should be allowed in advance of the examination for all parties to undertake a short familiarisation session in the use of the technology. It is recommended that a trial run is undertaken prior to the oral examination to ensure that the technology used meets requirements.

    e)    If the examiners are at different sites, they must take account of their need to share their preliminary reports and consult privately with each other on the conduct of the examination.

    f)      Any materials brought by the candidate into the room during an online oral examination should be identified at the start of the examination.

  5. Online oral examinations will not be routinely recorded.
  6. Appeals will be conducted under the University's standard procedures. Student may wish to contact Just Ask, a confidential service provided by Bristol Students’ Union, for advice on the appeals process.