Guidance on Oral Examination Conducted by Video Link
1. The normal expectation is that the oral examination for a research degree will take place at the University at Kent. An oral examination will only be conducted by video link in exceptional circumstances when the candidate or external examiner is at a distance from the University and unable to travel to the University at the appropriate time. A full statement should be provided outlining the reasons for which an oral examination by video link is necessary.
2. Requests for an oral examination for a research degree to be conducted by video link must be approved by the Associate Dean. All requests must have the written agreement of the candidate, all the examiners and the School Director of Graduate Studies. No pressure should be put on any party to assent to the oral examination being carried out by video link and it is essential to confirm that the student is content with the arrangements and does not feel disadvantaged in any way. All parties are required to acknowledge that (despite advance confidence) there is the possibility that the technology will fail and the examination be declared void. The candidate in particular must be advised of this risk.
3. When an oral examination for a research degree is to be conducted by video link, the following points must be observed:
a. The technology used must accommodate the anticipated needs of the examination and be tested in advance by the Video Conferencing Officer in IS User Support Services, email:Vconf@kent.ac.uk, tel: 01227 (82)7292. The bandwidth availability and quality of the equipment intended for use (and particularly that to be used by the remote party) must be taken into account when agreeing and arranging the oral examination by video link. The Video Conferencing Officer should be provided with at least two weeks’ notice of the oral examination.
b. The video conferencing facilities should be available for sufficient time for the examination to take place. The video conferencing suite should be booked for at least three hours. If there is doubt about the length of time required, every effort should be made to ensure that possible overrunning can be accommodated.
c. Time should be allowed in advance of the examination for all parties to undertake a short training session and become familiar with the use of the technology.
d. When the candidate is in the external location, the examination must be chaired by an approved independent person (e.g. a British Council representative or academic staff member) who can assure the integrity of the examination and will be authorised to terminate the examination should he/she feel that the proceedings are disadvantaging the student (in comparison to an oral examination conducted under the standard procedures).
e. There should be an appropriate number of breaks during the examination for both the candidate and examiners.
4. Appeals will be conducted under the Standing Orders Governing Research Appeals.
5. Requests for an examination to be conducted via video link should be made via the form at https://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/documents/quality-assurance/guidance/docs/viva-via-video-form.docx
Approved by Graduate School Board on 9 March 2010. Updated May 2017.