Workshop on 'Plagiarism and Safeguarding Policy' held at NDUB

06 Oct 2017, 20:32 | updated: 06 Oct 2017, 20:49

Online Desk
Professor Tahmina Ahmed speaks on 'Safeguarding Policy'. Photo: Newton Mondol

Dhaka: Notre Dame University Bangladesh organized a workshop for the faculties of the university on 6 October 2017, entitled 'Plagiarism and Safeguarding Policy' conducted by Professor Nazmeen Haq, Department of English, University of Dhaka,  and Professor Tahmina Ahmed, Department of English, University of Dhaka respectively.

Registrar and Chairman of English Department Fr Adam S Pereira, CSC welcomes the guests and faculties. After the faculties introduce themselves, the special guests of the event, the two esteemed speakers of the day: Prof Nazmeen Huq and Prof Tahmina Ahmed, are honoured with flora reception, says a press release.

After the newly appointed Vice Chancellor Father Fr Patrick Gaffney, CSC introduces the faculties and discusses the importance of the chosen topic for the workshop, Professor Nazmeen Haq starts the workshop discussing on how to avoid plagiarism in academic life, policies against plagiarism and solution to this problem. Prof Nazmeen begins with the definition of 'plagiarism'.

While sharing the kinds of plagiarism including self-plagiarism, paraphrasing plagiarism, and so on, Prof Nazmeen regrets that the most tragic plagiarism is "essay writing service". As there are software to detect "copy-pasting" plagiarism, many people buy others' research work which is the new crisis on this regard at present.

Then, she asks the faculties what problems students usually face in writing something original. Most responses are about the weakness of language among undergraduate students. Therefore, Prof Nazmeen discusses how to develop writing skills without depending on English department faculties only.

Professor Nazmeen Haq speaks on 'Plagiarism'

Prof Nazmeen emphasized on reading, "I read, therefore, I can write". The practice of "process based writing" and "project based learning", she believes, can enable the students to argue, analyze and interpret. She prefers 'note-taking technique' in class to develop writing which helps students to construct ideas and present those ideas in their own ways.

For instance, Prof Nazmeen suggests to a law faculty that rather than learning only law jargons and explaining them, students should be provided case studies which can develop their critical thinking and planning before jumping into writing.

In addition, Prof Nazmeen advices to use "multiple level learning" in class where a student will be evaluated for every steps such as drafting, planning, and finally editing. Such inquisition based learning will engage students and thus they can produce writing from their own experience. Through this, the tendency to "copy-paste" from various sources can be changed, she states.

Moreover, Prof Nazmeen talks of "empowering learners", to give them "voice" and "choice". For example, if any day students prefer to talk about music, the faculty can choose a song to discuss and make students write on it. Thereby, students will not take academic activities as burden, rather such procedure of teaching will engage students to develop their writing skills, Prof Nazmeen concludes.

The second speaker, Professor Tahimina Ahmed speaks on 'Safeguarding Policy' where she discusses on professionalism on campus as well as on social media. She begins with deconstructing the term 'professionalism' as to be "objective" and "impersonal", punctual, respectful to others, and helpful. She cites, faculties can be "friendly but not a friend", must avoid favouritism, as well as must be committed to his/her assigned duty.

She compares, university is one of the few places where hierarchal relation is not maintained, as it is evident in other job sectors. Thereby, she focuses on the use of language and tone towards other colleagues, even with students.

Gender sensitivity is a crucial issue at university level. Whether students or teachers, professionals should have the sense of responsibility and must avoid gender discriminatory remarks. Moreover, Prof Tahmina cites examples of the Japanese where they have separate course on body language. In class, or at office desk, one should maintain official body language that doesn't embarrass or offence others.

After the discussion, the speakers respond to the queries asked by the faculties. When asked about how to form the notion among students that plagiarism is a criminal offence, like stealing or kidnapping, as in Bangladeshi capitalistic society others' intellectual property is not considered as a property like lands, flats or cars, Prof Nazmeen replies, "We cannot be harsh towards students. We have to make them understand gradually and then this notion which is absent among the students at the moment can be expected to be formed."  

When asked to Prof Tahmina about providing individual counseling to be objective and impersonal as such features lack in Bangladeshi context where often faculties are seen imposing personal ideology over others and express own emotions which is sheer nonprofessionism, Prof Tahmina says, "Counseling can only be done if someone complains. Without any official complaint, it cannot be processed." On this note, Vice Chancellor Fr Patrick Gaffney affirms that there is a designated committee to look after complaints, and on campus there are complaint boxes which will be primarily monitored by the Proctor of the university Fr Lawrence, CSC.

Registrar Fr Adam draws the curtain of the workshop with his remarks on the effectiveness of such workshop and expresses his gratitude towards the faculties and guest speakers of the programme.

Vice Chancellor Fr Patrick Gaffney​