Some technical details for the implementation of distance learning and inspection during the state of emergency

 

The legislation is given by the following documents:

Act No. 188/2020 Coll., on special rules for education and decision-making at universities in 2020 and on the assessment of the study period for the purposes of other acts
http://www.msmt.cz/novy-zakon-o-fungovani-vysokych-skol-v-dobe-pandemie
http://www.msmt.cz/uploads/odbor_30/DH/FAQ/Metodicky_vyklad_zakona.pdf

Special rules of study at Charles University
https://cuni.cz/UKEN-1309.html

Directive of the Dean 9/2020 Measures of the Dean on special rules of study at the Mathematics & Physics Faculty of Charles University for the academic year 2019/2020
https://www.mff.cuni.cz/en/internal-affairs/regulations/dean-s-directive-no-9-2020

The provisions of the Administrative Procedure Code, the University Act, the Study and Examination Regulations of Charles University, and the Rules for the Organization of Studies at the Mathematics & Physic Faculty of Charles University continue to apply in full in aspects where they are not affected by extraordinary legislation, but some technical details need to be applied accordingly (see below).

 

Extraordinary legislation primarily introduces the possibility of distance learning both in cases where full-time teaching will not be possible due to government regulations, and in cases where the student's personal presence in teaching in any form will be allowed. This applies to both full-time teaching and lifelong learning courses. Recommendations for distance learning can be found at:
https://www.mff.cuni.cz/en/internal-affairs/coronavirus-sars-cov-2-and-covid-19-protection-measures
https://www.mff.cuni.cz/en/internal-affairs/it-and-services/services/possibilities-for-remote-education

 

Extraordinary legislation also introduces the possibility of inspections of the study of subjects and the implementation of state examinations (including the defense of dissertations) with the use of means of distance communication. Recommendations for the procedure for holding the state examination remotely can be found, for example, in the methodology issued by the Rectorate of Charles University, which is an appendix to this document. The important role of guarantors (study programs, in ongoing accreditations and study fields, and guarantors of individual study subjects) is specified by superior regulations - subject examination is subject to agreement between the subject guarantor and the program guarantor who can consult / arrange everything necessary with him.

The organization of inspection of studies and state examinations remotely requires that some technical details be addressed differently from standard procedures. We will try to summarize some of them.

  1. Hybrid form of study inspection. Inspection of distance learning may include such inspection where part of the participants (student, commission members) is present in one place and the others are connected by means of distance communication. Such a procedure is in accordance with the extraordinary legislation, but care must be taken that the number of people in one place does not exceed the number set by the current government measures and that prescribed safety rules are observed.
  1. Who can participate in the inspection of studies and the state exam? Even when examining remotely, the provisions of the study legislation must be observed. Course inspection is accessible to members of the academic community of the university (Study and Examination Regulations of Charles University, Art. 8, para. 9), state examinations are public with the exception of closed meetings of the exam commission. The faculty will ensure public access to the state exam by announcing it in the public part of the faculty website (on the official notice board) at least 15 days before it takes place. The announcement includes data enabling remote connection of guests from the public.
  1. Consultations before and during the defense of dissertations. Members of the academic community have access to the dissertation before the defense via SIS, while the study department will arrange access for others. For the defense itself it will be appropriate for the chairman of the commission to make the necessary materials (dissertation, abstract, list of publications) available by suitable sharing (e.g. Google Drive). Should any of the participants using remote access not be able to download these documents, they can also be sent by e-mail during the defense (if their scope allows). We anticipate that each defense will be attended remotely by the vice-dean or an employee of the study department who will cooperate with the chairman of the commission if necessary.
  1. Running the distance exam of a subject. Above all it is necessary to arrange for the exam to take place under the correct conditions. We recommend setting the following basic rules:
    1. The student must be visible on the screen for the entire duration of the exam. For written exams the table top must also be visible.
    2. The student's identity must be verified (codified by Article 15 of the Rules for the Organization of Studies at the Mathematics & Physics Faculty of Charles University) by displaying a photo ID.
    3. Set the procedure in advance in the event of a connection failure (e.g. continue the connection within XY minutes if the connection is re-established; cancel the test date…).
    4. When randomly selecting questions, clearly state in advance how this selection will take place.
    5. Keep a record of written exams (as required under the Study and Examination Regulations of Charles University, Article 8, paragraph 11), either in electronic or written form.
  1. Report (protocol) on the state examination. Study and Examination Regulations of Charles University, Article 9, paragraph 3: A report (protocol) on the holding of a state examination or part thereof shall be prepared and signed by the chairman or another member of the commission and all present members of the commission. Furthermore, Article 11, paragraph 13 of the same: Minutes shall be drawn up of the dissertation defense and the state doctoral examination and of the voting, which shall be signed by the chairman and at least one other member of the commission; the number of present members of the examination commission during the defense of the dissertation and the state doctoral examination may not be less than three. In the case of distance learning, this matter can also be implemented in another form of expressing consent, e.g. by electronic signature of the minutes, email consent, etc. As the regulation does not set any deadline for obtaining a signature, members of the commission may also sign the reports at the study department.
  1. Secret ballot, at the request of a commission member (otherwise the ballot is public). Voting via the Zoom platform is secret, but we have had bad experience with it (it behaves differently on different connections) and cannot be entirely recommended. It is possible to use the same routine as used by AS MFF UK (provided by Mgr. T. Drbohlav, PSÍK). Another option is to send an SMS or e-mail to the designated vote counter, who counts the votes without announcing how anyone voted. Of course, it is possible to agree on another method of voting in the commission, if the members of the commission accept it.
  1. Recording the exam. When inspecting the study of a subject, an audio or audio-video recording is possible, provided all participants in the exam agree. The same applies to the storage of the recording. By default, it is possible to obtain a record of the state examination with the consent of all participants. If the state examination is not public, which should only be in exceptional cases, the acquisition of a record is mandatory by law and the record is to be stored in the electronic file service of the university. Details can be found in the attached document. The Zoom platform cannot be used in this case.

Current and detailed information of the Rectorate of Charles University on the methodology for performing the final state examination remotely can be found on the website https://cczv.cuni.cz/CCZV-273.html