This year Majan University College (MUC) marks its seventh year by supporting the International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating (a form of cheating in colleges and universities that happens when students submit academic work that was done by another person, usually for payment). Integrity is one of MUC’s core values, hence the College has absolutely zero tolerance when it comes to academic misconduct.
The one day event is designed to spread awareness in a fun yet educational way rather than highlighting the penalties of academic misconduct. It was organised by the eLearning and Innovation Department that oversees the college’s Learning Management System (LMS), and all initiatives in the areas of educational technology and innovation. Higher education institutions from many parts of the world will be involved in the day of action, including those from North America and Europe. MUC’s participation reflects its determination to uphold the probity of higher education in the Sultanate.
MUC’s Deputy Dean (Academic Affairs), Ms. Nabila Al Macki officially opened the event by addressing the student audience and stressing the importance of academic integrity and professional ethics. Dr Brian Poole (Associate Dean for Teaching and Research) and Professor Ehsan Rassaei (Head of Research) spoke about the relevance of academic integrity and the importance of self-worth among students. The event was attended by members of its alumni and they engaged in an intriguing panel discussion which was organised by the eLearning and Innovation Department. The panel discussion sparked debates on banning essay mills in the region and the reasons that lead students to contract cheating.
The team produced a lively awareness video that involved MUC’s multinational staff and student members who shared their views on academic integrity. The event featured a graffiti wall where students wrote and drew creative awareness messages. Students were encouraged to take part in a ‘Say No to Contract Cheating’ awareness campaign on social media by tagging the global #excelwithintegrity and #myownwork event hashtags. MUC hosts a weekly digital quiz on its LMS for students that includes questions that trigger their general knowledge, and on this special day the team designed an academic integrity quiz. Multiple prizes were awarded to students who won the graffiti wall, social media campaign and quiz competitions.
As part of the awareness campaign, the Head of eLearning and Innovation, Mr. Roshan Kolar, designed and launched a plagiarism severity detection tool using a Google Form. This form helps users to understand whether they have plagiarised in recent academic work through a series of questions, and if the work is plagiarised, it also helps the person further identify the severity of the plagiarism violation. Mr. Roshan said: ‘No amount of contract cheating is acceptable at Majan University College, so we will continue to hold events like this one to raise awareness among students and counteract this deplorable form of cheating.’