Zeng Xingwei, a postgraduate student of School of Information and Software Engineering said excitedly after his defense. “I am very excited to participate in UESTC's first "cloud defense", thanks to UESTC and the School's careful organization, and the supervisor's professional training, I believe that we are participating in and witnessing history!” On April 27, the first batch of master's degree candidates of School of Information and Software Engineering met the members of the School's Defense Committee in the “cloud” at home and successfully completed the first round of "cloud defense", which was also the first batch of master's degree candidates to conduct the thesis defense online in UESTC. On April 28, the MBA of School of Management and Economics also started the online defense through the platform of UESTC feishu, marking the prelude of the online defense of master's degree thesis in the spring semester of 2020.
Strict Adherence to the Defense Requirements and Coherent Standards Both Online and Offline
According to work plan of online thesis defense for master's degree candidates of UESTC, the online defense of master's degree candidates is subject to the two-level defense supervision system of UESTC and Schools. The Graduate School participates in the supervision of the whole process. The online defense and offline defense are of the same standards and requirements, and the whole process of defense is recorded and videotaped to ensure the quality of online defense.
Prof. Zhou Shijie, Dean of School of Information and Software Engineering, as the chairman of the School's Defense Committee in the first round, introduced the arrangement of online thesis defense to the students, expressed his appreciation to them for overcoming the epidemic and completing theses on time, and asked them to complete the defense honestly and independently to ensure the standardized defense process. Then, the group of students in turn participated in the defense. The voice of each student was loud, the picture of each student was clear, and the screen sharing could be promptly transmitted to the large projection screen in the defense meeting room. The images of the meeting room and the questions from the teachers were also sent to the students' computers through the stable enhanced network. The Defense Committee and students participating in the defense had a smooth academic exchange.
When summarizing the defense, Prof. Zhou Shijie shared three words with students: thanks, endeavor and expectation. First of all, he thanked all students for trying their best to overcome the difficulties in writing theses during the epidemic and successfully passed the defense. "As General Secretary Xi said, happiness is achieved through hard work!" Zhou Shijie encouraged students to continue to struggle, to maintain the striving spirit and to create their own happiness after entering the workplace. He hoped that each student would continue to give play to the discipline advantages and professional expertise of software engineering major, and use their talents and wisdom to the most needed places in the motherland.
Prof. Xiao Yangao, Deputy Dean of School of Management and Economics, as the chairman of the School's Defense Committee in the first round, praised students for overcoming difficulties to complete theses during the critical period of the epidemic. He thanked them for their active participation in the online defense test, and hoped that students could take a normal attitude towards the defense and try their best to play their true level. At the same time, he made a brief introduction to members of Defense Committee and MBA students participating in the defense on the progress of online teaching during the covid-19 epidemic. He particularly mentioned that the Graduate School, on the basis of the successful implementation of online teaching for master's degree candidates, deployed and arranged online defense for master's degree thesis. “We are confident to complete this glorious task and ensure the successful completion of graduate thesis defense.” The online defense was conducted through the feishu platform. The online video defense featured clear picture and fluent voice. The communication between teachers and students was smooth and orderly.
In March this year, the Graduate School formulated a complete plan for the online defense process, voting, data archiving and other related work of master's degree thesis, and conducted online video defense training for all graduate teaching secretaries of Schools, so as to ensure that the defense work of master's degree thesis can be carried out on schedule, free from the impact of epidemic situation, and guarantee graduate students who have completed theses can graduate successfully.
The School of Information and Software Engineering has set up a leading group and a working group for the online defense of thesis led by leaders. The related work was officially launched in March, through five stages of mobilization, launch, research, scheme formulation, discussion, deployment and formal implementation, the School held many communication meetings, and fully listened to the opinions and suggestions of teachers. More than 200 students have been investigated and tested one-to-one for many times to fully understand the students' ideas and possible difficulties and problems, which laid the foundation for the smooth running of online defense of thesis. Can the hardware equipment in the School's defense room meet the requirements? Are the student's home facilities and network adequate to support the defense? Is the whole defense process reasonable and operational? In order to check the problems in advance, the Postgraduate Management Office of the School established a smooth network defense environment by repeatedly testing the process and implementation conditions of the defense on the multi-terminal line.
The leaders of the School of Management and Economics deployed and guided the School's Professional Theses and Students Status Management Office and MBA program, implemented Related Requirements and Suggestions for the Online Video Defense of Postgraduate Theses by the Graduate School, and specially formulated The Online Defense Plan for MBA Theses of the School of Management and Economics of UESTC in Spring 2020, which specified in detail preliminary preparation of online defense (including organization work, defense model, defense platform selection, site and equipment preparation, defense grouping and coordination, defense training, etc.), online defense test and precautions, management and service of defense preparation, process control, exception handling, etc. To ensure the quality and fairness of online defense from system and process design. At the same time, the staff of the School's Professional Theses and Students Status Management Office along with network and equipment technicians in the office of the School, repeatedly debugged the equipment and platform, and organized the MBA students participating in the defense to be familiar with the operation of the feishu app, so as to ensure the smooth progress of the online defense.
Bear in Mind the Spirit of UESTC and Forge Ahead
Zeng Xingwei, a postgraduate of School of Information and Software Engineering who passed the defense successfully, said “Although the epidemic has had a certain impact on our scientific research and life, the connotations of the UESTC’s spirit are national identity, the courage to take on responsibilities, and the perseverance and resilience to move forward in the face of difficulties.
The online defense we completed today makes us confident that we can successfully finish our study on time.”
Chen Jun, a student of School of Information and Software Engineering in Hubei Province, said: “Before the defense, the supervisor and I communicated about the revision of the paper for many times, and my supervisor was very concerned about my physical and mental health. The counselor also kept in touch with me and helped me solve problems, which made me feel very warm.”
Zhang Fan, a student of School of Management and Economics, spoke impressively: “As the first student of School of Management and Economics to participate in the online thesis defense, I feel very honored and proud. The online defense process of this MBA theses organized by the Graduate School and the School of Management and Economics is very rigorous. I deeply felt that UESTC attached great importance to the online defense and made careful preparations for it. The defense process was very smooth. The valuable opinions put forward by the experts of the Defense Committee have helped me a lot. I will work harder in the future and live up to the cultivation of UESTC and teachers.”
It is reported that more than 4,700 postgraduate students are expected to graduate this semester. UESTC will flexibly organize the thesis defense with online and offline methods according to the epidemic prevention and control and the situation of returning to school. The online thesis defense has also started the reform of thesis defense model for master's degree candidates in UESTC. Based on the experience of this online defense, the Graduate School will make a summary timely and cooperate with all Schools to further improve the online defense scheme for theses, and take multiple measures to ensure the quality of master's degree awarding.
Translated by Yang Yunfei, supervised by Long Mei.