Putting Research into Practice
Zeenath Reza KhanInstructor in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences: University of Wollongong, Dubai
"I am a firm believer of the value of academic integrity, not just to universities and schools, but to the students, their future life, and to the bigger society. So aligning my research to my teaching and vice versa was actually quite a natural transition, rather than an active pursuit."
For Zeenath Reza Khan winning the 2015 Turnitin Academic Integrity Award for the Africa and Middle East region concluded an extremely successful year. The instructor from the University of Wollongong in Dubai also received her PhD in September from the university’s sister campus in Australia. Her thesis “Developing a factor-model to understand the impact of factors on higher education students’ likelihood to e-cheat” sought to explore the motivations which lead students to cheat, and ultimately how this can inform development of approaches to promote academic integrity. In her thesis Zeenath advocates a more proactive approach to addressing academic dishonesty from all higher education stakeholders.
Her research interests go hand in hand with her teaching at the university on the subjects of Ethics and IT and Business. Turnitin has been part of Zeenath’s proactive approach to promoting academic integrity in her day to day teaching practice for some time, “my students can see the immediate consequences of their copying using Turnitin”. She also uses innovative assessment strategies to promote original thinking from her students, and one such approach was to introduce a case study report to counteract instances of cut and paste plagiarism, where they are required to conduct primary research into a real life ethical dilemma in business. Clearly for Zeenath her teaching practice and research interests are inextricably linked:
“I believe as academics, we do justice to our profession when we aim to achieve a teaching-research nexus, that is, we teach what we practice and we practice what we teach. I am a firm believer of the value of academic integrity, not just to universities and schools, but to the students, their future life, and to the bigger society. So aligning my research to my teaching and vice versa was actually quite a natural transition, rather than an active pursuit.”
Determined not to let the grass grow under her feet Zeenath is now looking to compile a book on the subject of academic integrity practices in the Middle East and will chair the first International Conference on Academic Integrity: Middle East Chapter in Spring 2016.