Open Dissertation Defenses

| May 19, 2010

Are you curious about the process of earning a Ph.D.? Have you ever wondered about some of the details, such as the defense process?

An emerging trend for uses of social media tools is to make this process more transparent. For example, yesterday doctoral student Danielle Lee, of the University of Missouri, St. Louis live-streamed her dissertation defense, as reported by¬†Science Magazine’s Career Blog. Her dissertation entitled: An Investigation of Behavioral Syndromes and Individual Differences in Exploratory Behavior of Prairie Voles, Microtus ochrogaster, was streamed live and remains accessible¬†here. Additionally, there was also some live tweeting associated with the event in which she was happy to welcome questions and comments from anyone interested in being apart of the experience.

Interestingly, she is not the only one to do this as I have come across multiple other twitter posts including links to a live channel for dissertation defenses. I am curious to see if this will catch on and eventually become a way to include more of the community not only in the process of understanding what is involved in obtaining a Ph.D but also as a forum for receiving feedback from an interest community. I also wonder about the potential learning opportunities around having an extensive video archive of dissertation defenses as well as an open source policy surrounding access to them.