Conducting Vivas Online: A Guide for Institutions and Candidates

Gill Houston

Past Chair, UK Council for Graduate Education

The UK Council for Graduate Education issued this guidance to assist institutions who, in the light of Covid–‐19, were rapidly adapting to making online vivas available to larger numbers of candidates who by necessity could not attend a face to face assessment with examiners. 

While using technology could present practical challenges, if everyone involved in the viva is patient, keeps calm and approaches it with good humour, the technology itself shouldn’t add to the stress, although it might mean the process takes slightly longer. As in face to face vivas, it is not a problem to pause: while considering an examiner’s question; while waiting for them to respond or to ask the next question; or to ask them to repeat a question if you haven’t understood. 
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