ConserveChange: What the actual.... I'm an external on a PhD defense and they require the student to pan her entire bedroom, the only room where she can be alone, to *prove* that no one is in there to help her cheat. She pushed back, rightfully, and the chair was like "its the rules"
Paul Baumer: Do these people not understand how doors work?
Stephen_Falken: What exactly is the committe's external?
KangTheMad: I have to do this for exam
Bajtaur: In theory you trying to show the committee that with the work you did in the past ~4 years you, in order of importance: made a meaningful contribution to your scientific field, can talk meaningfully about that contribution, and don't have any particularly embarrassing blind spots in your scientific knowledge.
BretMavrik: Yet another 400-year-old institution that warrants a complete overhaul.
wejash: Are they really expecting to catch a professor from another school standing there with a big white board to write out the answers to each query?Because that would actually be kind of cool.
Kubo: If your PhD chair thought you weren't prepared enough to defend, but let you defend anyway, they have failed as a PhD chair.
phalamir: My question is how you "cheat" at a defense. It is your research. If you can't speak authoritatively about it off the cuff, you shouldn't have scheduled the defense. Even for the gotcha questions, you have to formulate a response on the fly. No way someone is sitting there off-camera listening, making a coherent answer, and feeding it to you in real time. I'm not even sure you could throw them out if they were there. All our dissertation defenses had to be open to the public. I mean, generally no one actually came except for a spouse, parent, or morbidly curious graduate student - but you couldn't turn anyone away if they wanted to watch. Hell, one friend's parents showed up and filmed the damned thing! Considering one of her committee members was known to be a roaring asshole at defenses, we thought it was the perfect passive-aggressive way to keep him in check.
Bajtaur: Stephen_Falken: What exactly is the committe's external?The rules for PhD defenses vary widely, so it is hard to say for sure for a graduate program I'm not a part of. That said, often the composition of Thesis Committees is something like: Your advisor, 2-3 other faculty members that are part of the graduate program, 1-2 faculty members that are external to the graduate program. The idea is often that during a thesis defense you need to be able to speak to both a public audience, and to a scientist focused on your field. An external member is helping to evaluate the bigger picture.
Sword and Shield: For my Master's defense, it was over an hour of explanation, questions and defense. Not an easy hour, and I don't care who you had trying to fill things in, it was niche enough that it wouldn't help.
NeoCortex42: I'd love to know how you're supposed to cheat at a defense.