Sudarshan Subedi from Nepal, the country of the beautiful Himalayas, is studying the Doctor of Public Health at Flinders University. His thesis entitled ‘Public Health Leadership in Nepal: Development, Enactment and Competencies’ aims to develop a grounded theory on leadership development, as well as to explore the leadership practices and competencies in the context of the Nepalese public health settings. Sudarshan is currently finalizing his thesis and he hopes to complete his doctorate degree soon.
Sudarshan has recently delivered an online presentation for his final thesis review. Here he shares his experiences and provides some useful tips on how to approach an online presentation.
What made you decide to do your final thesis review presentation online?
Initially, the presentation of my final thesis review was scheduled as a face-to-face meeting in the college. Based on the availability of the examiner and subsequent approval from my supervisors, it was re-scheduled to be online on the day of the presentation. Taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic, the online mode was deemed necessary.
How did you prepare for the event?
On the day, I was prepared for the presentation, but not for it to be online. However, I managed that change easily by convincing myself that the presentation would be as usual, except for the lack of the physical presence of people.
What happened on the day?
The presentation via Zoom started after all the invited participants joined in. It felt like a typical presentation where I shared the different aspects of my research, focusing mostly on the results and its implications. After finishing my 30 minute presentation, the discussion session started. I answered the questions raised by the Professors, the examiner and the colleagues. I received some feedback from the examiner which was useful in making the thesis more captivating. After the discussion session, my colleagues and I left the meeting, whereas the supervisors and the examiner were supposed to have an additional session for the assessment purposes. My examiner emailed me his formal comments on the following day and I addressed them in my thesis.
How did you find the online experience? What went well and did you come across any obstacles?
Although it was my first online presentation, the comments from other participants made me realise that it went very well. There were no technical issues during the session. The only obstacle that I encountered was with the sharing of the screen at the beginning of the session. As the meeting had been hosted by the university staff and all of us joined in as participants, it did not allow us to share the screen. This issue was addressed quickly by joining a new meeting which was hosted by the examiner.
What tips could you give to students who, like you, would like to do a final thesis review presentation online?
There is no need to panic about an online presentation, even if this is your first time. The common presentation strategies are applicable for both, a face-to-face and an online presentation. Make sure that you have a good internet connection and an unrestricted time for the online session. Personal accounts, such as in Zoom, could be problematic as they allow only a limited time for a presentation.
How would you describe the experience overall?
Based on my habits of teaching/ learning and other technical aspects of an online session, I rate this experience 8 out of 10.
What have you learned from the experience and how you can apply it to the rest of your HDR studies and even beyond?
The important thing I have learned from this session is that an online session is okay if you can effectively share your findings with others and the physical distance doesn’t matter at all. Being an academic, I am thinking about using online sessions in the future for teaching and learning activities, considering their feasibility at different times and places.