Look before you copy, unis take plagiarism seriously

National 2 minutes, 55 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

UNIVERSITIES in the sultanate are taking action against plagiarism among students, with some maintaining the option to expel those caught lifting other people’s work.

At Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA), plagiarism can lead to expulsion, depending on the gravity of the offence.

Dr Abdul Nasir Hj Abdul Rani, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences at UNISSA, said the university since its inception has had only once case of plagiarism. The student concerned failed the course and was kicked out of the university, he said in an interview with The Brunei Times.

“Plagiarism is an action that is not easily forgiven if you are a post graduate or higher,” he said. “If the students have done it, they can fail their course and can be at risk of being dismissed from the university.”

University lecturers use Internet search engines to check whether the students have plagiarised or not when submitting academic papers.

Dr Abdul Nasir said the university does provide chances for students and help them to improve their academic writing skills.

The university also provides students with the Academic Writing Guideline to help them improve their writing and avoid plagiarism.

“All students must use the guideline. UNISSA will continue to teach the students and guide them to ensure they do not plagiarise,” he said.

Dr Abdul Nasir has also encouraged students to take action to learn from others (including families, friends and lecturers) to improve their writing.

Likewise, Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) considers plagiarism an academic offence under the university’s regulation, said its Registrar and Secretary.

The university has faced two plagiarism cases where it gave no marks for the students’ assignments. If a student continues to plagiarise after being caught, the student could be terminated from the university, the registrar said.

The registrar said the university has taken various initiatives such as briefings to ensure the students are aware of its policy against plagiarism.

The university also has the Board of Enquires that investigates and manages academic offenses.

If a student is caught committing an academic offense (such as plagiarism), the student will be brought to the board where they will be interviewed and given the opportunity to explain their action, the registrar said.

“We have a software (named Turn-It-In), all of the academic staff are required to use the software (in guarding against plagiarism) and it has been good,” she said.

Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) also uses the same plagiarism software.

Dr Kenny Siu Sing Huen, Senior Lecturer of the Philosophy Minor Programme under the UBD Faculty of Arts and Social Science, said the university does not have a committee to manage plagiarism cases, but lecturers do report to university when such action is committed.

Throughout his six years as a lecturer in the university, he said he has encountered four cases of plagiarism from his students.

“I talk with the students and ask them to do the assignment again. I would also lower the grade for the assignment because it was already wrong. We need to let the students understand but not always punish them,” he said.

He added that it is also easy to identify if the work is owned by someone other than the student.

He said the student must respect the creators by referencing them and providing the information on where they found the content.

“The university reminds the students to be honest, to remind them the goal of the assignments is to learn, not copy,” he said.

The Brunei Times