Virtual vivas, Skype vivas, Zoom vivas – I see lots of names being used for the same thing. The current situation in the world means some vivas will be delayed, and others will necessarily happen online. Remote vivas are needed, a sudden change in procedure, and so naturally that creates a space for worry and concern.
Thankfully, while previously rare, remote vivas aren’t new. There are people who can help you understand what might be ahead if your viva is in the near future.
Find academics and ask them about what doing a remote viva is like, what they might have to take into account. Ask PhD graduates who have had their viva over video, and see what that felt like. Set your expectations, and check if there is anything special you might need to prepare for. See if there was anything that surprised them – that perhaps now doesn’t have to surprise you!
A few weeks ago, when universities started closing their doors, I asked for help on Twitter. I knew a little about remote vivas, but it was more on the technical help side – check the software beforehand, check regulations, and so on. Thanks to the generous contributions of many Twitter users I was able to curate a thread of help starting here:
There are lots of valuable points here! If your viva is likely to be sometime in 2020, it’s probably worth taking a look.
By the end of the year, perhaps, universities will be opening their doors again. But it won’t hurt you to find out a little more. It’s always been useful for candidates to check expectations; it’s hard to prepare and feel confident if you don’t have a handle on what’s ahead.
Now particularly, when the backdrop of the world is a little more scary and uncertain, it’s important to bring your viva into focus. See what it might be like, as clearly as you can, and you can make your viva a little less scary and uncertain.