March 2020 marked the start of lockdown in the UK due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. In academia, lecturers have been working non-stop to create a new norm for students, moving their practices online and developing remote teaching tools. Meanwhile, those in research, from doctoral students to established professors, have faced their own sets of challenges. Research students across the nation that had been gearing up for their doctoral examination will have learnt recently that these will now be conducted remotely, bringing about additional concern.
In tandem with nationwide efforts of other HEIs and the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE), Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) has implemented new emergency measures to ease the transition from face-to-face to remote doctoral vivas. With no clear end in sight for the current social distancing measures, remote vivas will be the new norm for the foreseeable future. It is therefore important to demystify this style of examination for doctoral students and their supervisors alike.
With that in mind, Professor Doug Cleaver, the Director of the Doctoral School at SHU, was interviewed by two recent doctoral graduates to address all things remote viva. Created by Drs Ronak Janani and Alex Scrimshire and directed by senior administrator, Esther Lau, this is the latest instalment of PhD Perspective – a project designed to provide guidance and support to current and future research students from the perspective of those who have recently gone through the experience.
You can view the video via this link: https://youtu.be/SLTlXpBoLbc
Want to hear from someone who has been through a remote viva? Stay tuned as the same team is working on a part II of their original video Our Viva Experience.
To view the UKCGE guidelines on conducting vivas remotely, click here.