Global Innovation Awards 2017: Honorable Mention

Category: Writing with Integrity | Africa and Middle East

Roshan Kolar

Roshan Kolar

Director of E-Learning: Majan University College, Oman

We ask them to focus on creating their own words, their own sentences, their own ideas, based on the research that they have done.”

As Director of E-Learning at Majan University College, the first private college in the Sultanate of Oman, Roshan Kolar is always looking for ways to improve how technology can be used to facilitate learning. He approaches problems with creativity and goes beyond expectations to scale what works, such as using Turnitin to go paperless and help teachers and students achieve positive outcomes.

Majan University College had been using Turnitin for more than a decade now. Roshan was appointed as the core Turnitin resource person responsible for support, training and LMS integration. Students wanted better feedback and rubrics, so they could understand the criteria being used to grade their work. Teachers wanted a one-stop-shop for grading and originality checks. He led the upgrade to the new Turnitin Feedback Studio and now provides ongoing training and support.

Recently lecturers have been using Turnitin to give immediate feedback on end-of-semester oral presentations. Students upload their presentations, and lecturers comment online as students give their presentations. Everyone likes the ease and expediency of Turnitin, he says.

One challenge, Roshan says, is: “getting students to understand that the similarity report is not the sole focus. It is simply a gauge to show how much content came from elsewhere, not necessarily an indicator of plagiarism. Students do need to learn how to cite sources properly, but the concept of originality is bigger. We ask them to focus on creating their own words, their own sentences, their own ideas, based on the research that they have done.”

Once students grasp and embrace the value of originality, all forms of academic dishonesty can be better addressed. This includes contract cheating, which has been on the rise globally. This past year, Majan University College organized an event that included posters, songs, videos, and speeches to raise awareness of contract cheating and why it’s important for the college to promote academic integrity, using tools like Turnitin. Majan University College also hosted Oman’s first Turnitin Academic Integrity Workshop, which was attended by staff from institutions all over the region.

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