March 2020


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Wed, 18 Mar 2020 19:27:52 +0000
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Virtual Instruction - Guidance for Volgenau PhD Students
As Mason has moved to virtual instruction through the end of spring semester, in-person student meetings (e.g., Oral Comprehensive Exams, Proposal Defenses, Dissertation Defenses) scheduled for the remainder of the semester will be re-structured.
All in-person student meetings will be held virtually to comply with university and Covid-19 guidelines.
Specific Strategies

  1.  Choose a Platform - Students should work closely with advisors and committee members to select an online meeting platform best suited their participants' needs.  WebEx, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Google Hangouts are some of the options.

  2.  Plan Wisely - Administering in-person student meetings entirely online is a solution triggered by the public health crisis, not by choice. Online meetings have certain limitations compared to in-person meetings; but those can be mitigated or eliminated with proper preparation. For example, another participant (such as the advisor) can act as the moderator of the online meeting and presentation materials can be made available prior to the meeting.

  3.  If Possible Stay with the Schedule - We recommend holding all in-person student meetings as originally scheduled and online.  If there are serious concerns about offering the meeting online and deadlines are a factor, the student can request postponement to a future term (summer 2020 or fall 2020), by submitting a written petition to the departmental unit, with a clear justification. If a student does not meet his or her candidacy or conferral time limit due to this extension he  or she will need to submit a time limit exception request<https://mymasonportal.gmu.edu/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_336120_1&content_id=_8551497_1>.   Postponement of program-specific deadlines can be decided by department units.

  4.  Prepare for Final Defense - UDTS<mailto:[log in to unmask]> has recently announced that the spring 2020 final dissertation deadline has been moved to 5pm on Friday, May 8, 2020. Community announcements<https://catalog.gmu.edu/policies/academic/graduate-policies/#text> are required two-weeks before the scheduled date.  The announcement should include meeting access details.

  5.  Guidance for Final Defense Signature Sheets and Embargo Request Forms - UDTS will accept digital/electronic signatures as long as they look like actual signatures (not a signature box). This requires adding signature image to the electronic file or the sign-scan-send (s-s-s) method. UDTS cautions that utilizing the s-s-s method is not ideal due to the degradation of the Signature Sheet with each print and re-scan.  If the Signature Sheet becomes too degraded by multiple prints and re-scans, UDTS will not accept it.  For the Dean's signature (final required signature on the Signature Sheet), please forward the signed copy to your department's administrator.

Thank you to the Department of Computer Science for their secure and effective contribution to this guidance.