Global Innovation Awards 2017: Honorable Mention

Category: Moving Forward with Integrity | Africa and Middle East

Aga Khan University

Aga Khan University, Kenya

Nominated by: Rosemary Thiong'o, Librarian/Instructor

“They are very enthusiastic and very grateful for this particular software. They really appreciate the fact that it would check for them whether their work is original and of standard,” she says.

Aga Khan University has campuses in Africa, Asia and Europe. Its Kenya campus in Nairobi, functions as a teaching hospital. Guided by the principles of impact, quality, relevance and access, it offers training in nursing and midwifery as well as medical degrees. As part of their education, students are provided with detailed information literacy training through the Health Sciences Library.

Rosemary Thiong'o, one of the librarians, says that learning how to use EndNote referencing and Turnitin to ensure academic integrity is an important part of training. It’s compulsory for students to run their thesis through Turnitin, and Thiong'o says that students value what the software can do.

“They are very enthusiastic and very grateful for this particular software. They really appreciate the fact that it would check for them whether their work is original and of standard,” she says. The consequences for plagiarism, whether accidental or not, can result in losing credibility or even having one’s credentials revoked. Thiong'o says that medical students have busy and tight schedules and they find Turnitin quite helpful to be able to check their own work for originality. They know that if their thesis is not up to standard, their graduation will be delayed.

As for staff, Thiong'o says they too eagerly embrace the software. It saves them significant time providing feedback on ‘volumes of essays’. Thiong’o says Turnitin has empowered students to improve their writing and prevent plagiarism with the click of a button and move onto more important and impactful work. She says it’s an efficient, effective process that results in higher quality work, which benefits the students and her institution.

Thiong'o humbly acknowledges that students have come back after graduation to thank her and share what they’ve told their peers and colleagues at other institutions about Aga Khan’s training and use of Turnitin. “It’s quite rewarding and fulfilling to know that someone really appreciates your efforts into making them successful in their academic work,” she says.

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