Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Plagiarism..Think Twice.

Plagiarism is always one of the main problems among students especially the undergraduates. Recently I have caught a few with plagiarized materials. In simple words, plagiarism is basically taking other people’s ideas and uses the ideas as one's own original work. Most students seem to think that it is not considered plagiarism as long as the authors' are cited somewhere in the assignment (or not cited…). Well, that notion is wrong. If you were to take someone else's idea, at least you must paraphrase it and then cite the author. If you were to insert the idea word by word, you must put the whole sentence in a quotation mark with the citation at the end. In the three cases that I have examined, the students simply cut-and-paste most of the materials found in the Web and combined them to make a complete project paper. They didn't even bother to change the logo of the company that they copied from the Web or the different fonts used. What is it with students nowadays? Do they think we are not going to notice when their writing suddenly miraculously improves? Or when suddenly all the bombastic words are expressed perfectly? Or when their grammatical errors are almost nil? Personally, I feel that the act is just simply an insult to my intelligence.

Still, I do not blame them 100 per cent. The universities and the academicians should also play their roles. Questions need to be asked. To what extend that academicians are willing to uphold their principles? Should we fail them, give warning or do nothing (grade the paper as a normal paper)? I know for sure that Western academicians adhere to zero tolerance for plagiarism. Most Western universities even required students to submit all their assignments directly to Turnitin online (one of widely used plagiarism software detection) before the assignments are graded by the lecturers. Personally, I believe that we should do the same in Malaysia. I don't mind about not having the software. I can still detect plagiarism manually through the internet by google-ing key words or sentences. But, students need to be told of the severity of the penalty and the universities along with the academicians should unite in our effort to curb this problem. Many things are acceptable or negotiable, but plagiarism should not be one of them.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fresh from the Trees...

Yesterday, Monday 7th July 2008 was the first day of the semester. And my class was one of the first for new students. I like teaching new students. Why? Because no matter what, my class will always be full. And these new students, they looked fresh, alert and interested. They even asked me about the dress code to come to my class. Hehehe. What more can a lecturer ask, kan? My second class of the day, which was at 12pm, was also no shock to me. It was a 3rd level class...and it only lasted 5 minutes. Again, you may wonder why..because there were only 3 students present. I told them thanks for coming, gave them the course synopsis and ended the class. Hopefully I can start teaching by this coming Wednesday. And this morning was my first GSM class for MBA students. Kind of scary in the beginning but all ended well. Thank God. The class had a good mixture of students from various backgrounds such as Business, Engineering, Microbiology, etc. And there were a few students on study leaves ranging from 1 to 2 years who work for MAS and several other organizations. There was even one French student coming under GSM student exchange program. This class will surely pose a challenge to me especially in trying to get them to understand the impact of OB on real-life situations. At the same time, it will also provide me with valuable experience. No doubt about that. Well, I have news for me, my colleagues and all my students:

'That's it people! Holidays are officially over...'

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

All in a Week...

3rd of July, 09.30am:

1st July 2008:
Dr Simon Booth who is also the Head of Management Department and my Ph.D. internal examiner in Reading came to visit our faculty with a very interesting proposal..an opportunity for collaboration. As I was listening to him in the meeting, I can't stop my mind from taking a walk down the memory lane. I wish Denise, Peter and Evelyn were here too. It seems that a lot of exciting things are happening in Reading after I graduated last year. They are now in the process of merging with the Henley Management College. The merger, due to be completed in August 2008, will unite Henley, currently ranked among the top 25 business schools in Europe and the University of Reading Business School. The new Henley Business School will become the fourth largest business school in the UK and house the Schools of Economics, Management and Real Estate & Planning, alongside the ICMA Centre (for financial markets).

Wow..this is really great! Still, I regret not being there in Reading during the transformation. I would have liked to be able to explore the new building. Simon said it's going to be a state-of-the-art building. Well, perhaps with the collaboration, I will get another chance to visit Reading.

The funny thing that happened yesterday was that I needed to get in touch with Simon, but he did not have any mobile phone with him. Luckily I asked about his schedule the day before. So, first thing first, I contacted PJ Hilton to ask about him. That was around 10.30am. They told me that he has checked out and gone somewhere. Then I remembered that he had a meeting with the British Council at noon. So, I contacted British Council and managed to speak to the receptionist. He told me that he was never informed of such visitor. I knew then that I had to change my tactic. Thinking fast, I asked him (in a polite manner of course..) that if a person from a UK university were to visit the organization, which department would they normally go. And he said it would usually involve the UK Education. I proceeded to ask him to connect me with UK Education and finally...the people there told me that yes, they were expecting Simon in a few hours. Oh my God! I am so proud of myself. It's not much, but it is still my outstanding accomplishment for the day! Hahaha. Three cheers for me!!!

To Simon; I wish you a good trip back to UK. Thank you for taking the time to visit us.

I am yet to look at all my notes for next week's classes. I have 5 classes this semester and all have to be completed earlier to give way for my sudden maternity leave. Hahaha. I have a feeling I will be alone in the delivery room this time around as I doubt that my husband will be able to fly back on time. Yeah, yeah, talk about me being a pessimist. Most people don't know this, but I am always optimist at work and most of the time pessimist at home. Funny, huh.

Another meeting awaits me. The final one this week since tomorrow is Friday. And..tomorrow is also my tenth wedding anniversary. The 4th of July..Americans will be celebrating it for sure. It's their Independence Day. Hmm..wonder what my husband has in store for me..probably nothing.

Glitter Words
3rd of July, 12.30pm:
I stand corrected. At about this time, I received a bouquet of roses and a box of Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolates from my husband. This is among those few times that he surprised me. And I am truly surprised! And touched. I am so touched, I feel like crying. As a matter of fact, I did cry. Oh gosh..how I wish he would not have gone to Brunei next month.