Online Viva Voce in a time of turmoil


Wait… didn’t I say I was back on track? 🤔

I was. But something happened in the meantime:

  1. The coronavirus crisis
  2. My Viva

Not that I’m looking for excuses. However, these two unrelated events generated more stress and anxiety than I would have forecasted and ultimately, it prevented me to freely express myself on this blog for a while.

The good news is that I’ve passed my Viva (subject to minor corrections). Yay! Of course, this event was supposed to happen in Edinburgh, but since my flights were cancelled, the borders shut down, and a majority of European citizens put in quarantine, there was no other choice than to make it happen online. I have therefore defended my thesis on Zoom, thanks to the flexibility of my two examiners, my panel chair and my director of studies. The irony is that my PhD adventure ended up almost the same way than it started: online. (My interview to get the PhD funding happened on Skype six years ago while I was still living in Geneva).

The Viva went well. Not only the discussions but also the setting itself. It was almost as if we were having this session face-to-face. To the extent that while the examiners were deliberating the outcome of my examination, my dear director of studies ‘invited’ me for a cup of tea…online 😊 When we were finally both invited to come back to the virtual room, the external examiner told me the result. I had to ask him to repeat it twice… not because of some malfunctioning audio-video feature (as one could logically expect it), but because of some emotional turbulence on my side…(ahem). Truly, the only thing that I (terribly) missed, was the possibility to give & receive hugs and invite my colleagues for a drink in a nearby pub. But an online drink was quickly organised to celebrate my success, and soon I was able to be congratulated by all my colleagues online.

So why do I talk about this experience? Not to self-celebrate my personal achievement (although…). More so because this event was significant regarding two specific aspects: the theme of my doctoral study, and the extraordinary period we are all going through right now during this coronavirus crisis. This is the topic I cover in my next blog post. Coming (much) sooner this time. Stay tuned.

2 thoughts on “Online Viva Voce in a time of turmoil

  1. Dear Iris
    Congratulations !!
    Just today, I knew you got your PhD. I read Hazel´s blog and yours
    That path does not use to be as we planned. I wish you a lot of you health, happiness and success in this new chapter of your life


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