Interview about my PHD Viva

A fellow researcher (Tina Papathoma) asked me to record a video in which I discuss my experience with the writing and defending my PhD thesis. She presented it to the “How to finish your PhD thesis and successfully defend it” workshop at the 15th EATEL Summer School on Technology Enhanced Learning (JTELSS 2019) which took place on June 1-8, 2019 in Bari, Italy.
Here follow the list of questions I answered through this video:

1. Intro

  • Introduce yourself and area
  • What were the challenges in your own PhD journey?
  • What emotions did you experience during Year 1 (exploration year), Year 2 (data collection), Year 3 (thesis writing), Year 4 (endless thesis writing)?
  • How do you manage/not manage your emotions?
  • Could you have managed them better in hindsight?
  • Who (could have) helped you in this management?

2. Writing

  • Did you capture your progress on your PhD journey in any way?
  • How many hours did you have for writing per day/ what did you need to achieve & how much time is needed (roughly)?
  • Where did you work at? Was this the right location to write for you?

3. Defence/Viva

  • What were the steps you followed before the defence?
  • Did you need to prepare a presentation? What were the things you focused mostly on and Why?
  • Did you do a mock Viva/defence examination and did that help you in any way?
  • What were the most important questions they asked you?
  • Any differences in your thinking by reading your thesis again?
  • How did you empty your mind before the defence?



Further Information

Summer School: JTELSS 2019

The EATEL Summer School on Technology Enhanced Learning (JTELSS) is a flagship event of the European Association of Technology Enhanced Learning (EATEL). It provides a stimulating learning environment where participants get opportunities to develop research skills, increase their knowledge base, collaborate with others in their own and complementary research areas, engage in debate, have access to experts in the field, and discuss their own work. The 15th edition took place on June 1-8, 2019 in Bari, Italy.



Workshop: How to finish your PhD thesis and successfully defend it

Abstract: This interactive workshop will consider ways that will encourage PhD researchers towards finishing the writing process of their PhD thesis and highlight aspects of successfully defending it. In particular, the workshop will be an opportunity to reflect on ways of organizing time and data, on creating a diary and sketch a PhD thesis structure for writing. Hands-on tips on the use of reference management systems will be given. It will also focus on the use of other PhD theses which can guide our own writing, on thesis formatting and on publishing. A PhD journey and particularly thesis writing can be emotional. Therefore, apart from the practical and technical aspects of PhD thesis, this workshop will focus on these aspects of writing such as the writer’s block and how to overcome it. Moreover, it will discuss ways of taking time off the thesis, on handling writing with other commitments (full-time work and family) and will give the opportunity for PhD researchers to pose questions and share challenges and good practices that will enable them to finish their PhD thesis. Further, the end goal of writing a thesis is to successfully defend it. Thus this workshop deals with the decisions that PhD researchers need to make at the writing process which will make an examiner avoid asking tricky questions. The session will initially introduce the topic and will give time to PhD Researchers to work both in groups and individually on drafting their own structure for their PhD thesis writing and identify critical aspects that need to be taken into account when thinking long term goals of defending their thesis.

Speaker: Tina Papathoma, The Open University (UK)

Date: Thursday, June 6 17:30h