Turnitin Conference 2015
Majan University College hosted Oman's very first academic integrity workshop on Wednesday 25th February 2015, in partnership with Turnitin and Techknowledge. Turnitin is the global leader in evaluating and improving student learning. Their system is used extensively by Majan University College and other institutions in Oman to check student papers for similarity with other sources and assist academic staff in providing rich, constructive feedback on student work. The event was the second of two Middle East academic integrity workshops, with the first having been held at the American University of Beirut, also in February 2015.
James Thorley, Director of International Sales for Turnitin opened the event, giving an overview of upcoming features and developments in the Turnitin suite of products. Ahmad Masri, of Techknowledge followed with a talk on Turnitin's partnership with Al Manhal (the leading Arabic language research database) aimed at enhancing anti-plagiarism efforts in scholarly texts in Arabic. Ian McNaught from Majan University College presented on the challenge of academic integrity and intellectual property across cultures and generations. Nancy K. Hoke from Khalifa University, UAE gave some practical advice based on her experience of using Turnitin at her institution.
The presentations were interspersed with lively and frank discussions and debates on the issue of academic integrity and the efficacy of Turnitin as a tool. Over 70 delegates, representing different institutions in Oman, attended the event, whichwas a great success and a valuable contribution to the further development of higher education in Oman.
Majan International Conference 2014
The Majan international conference took place from 8th to 9th April 2014 under the auspices of His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Sarmi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education. A total of 75 papers were presented from countries which included Oman, United Kingdom, India and UAE. In line with the theme of the conference (Oman’s economy: Contributions from Higher Education) the papers focused on key areas and specialisations which play a critical role in the development of Oman's economy. Among these were entrepreneurship, human resource development, education, and skills in information technology and language.
There were two keynote speakers for the conference. Dr. Amer Al-Rawas, CEO of Omantel, emphasized the role of entrepreneurship in promoting innovation and driving the economy forward. Professor Paul Burns (University of Bedfordshire) highlighted how education shapes lives and economies. He argued that the private sector should play a key role in the economic development of Oman and that therefore higher education must produce graduates appropriate to the private sector’s requirements. Other challenges he highlighted include the fact that today’s knowledge and skills may not be relevant in the future and that therefore preparing for the decades ahead requires flexible and innovative thinking.
Overall, the participants at the conference foregrounded the crucial role of higher education in the development of Oman’s economy. The papers were thought-provoking, providing new insights into knowledge generation, knowledge sharing and knowledge development. Reflecting on practices, questioning established paradigms, and pushing epistemological boundaries were some of the ways forward that emerged from the conference.