Global Innovation Awards 2017: Honorable Mention

Category: Moving Forward with Integrity | Latin America

Institución Universitaria Esumer

Institución Universitaria Esumer, Colombia

Nominated by: Germán Castro Bernal, Professor/Researcher

“For us the use of this tool has been essential because the student needs to know that he has to be honest not only when writing, but also in professional life,” he says.

Each year about 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students attend Institución Universitaria Esumer, a Colombian university established in 1972 in Medellín, Antioquia, to study marketing, international affairs, business logistics, and other related disciplines. Because the university wants each student to succeed professionally, its professors teach more than industry knowledge. They also push students to think critically and practice writing and research that meets high academic standards.

“The universities here in Colombia must pass a test by the National Ministry of Education, and for that you need to meet certain standards,” says Germán Castro Bernal, a professor and researcher at the International College. He uses Turnitin as a developmental tool to help his students improve the quality of their academic work. The university has made it compulsory for teachers to use Turnitin and have students revise work, based on the results of the originality report.

Bernal says many students copy and paste content they find on the Internet. As Turnitin detects and links content matches to the original source, it facilitates discussions about the importance of crediting others’ work. He says that learning how to contribute new knowledge requires creativity, academic integrity, and practice. “For us the use of this tool has been essential because the student needs to know that he has to be honest not only when writing, but also in professional life,” he says.

One of the most rewarding benefits, says Bernal, is that students feel empowered to write and are proud of their work, which is often published in the university’s magazine. And, says Bernal, as the quality of student work and the competency of its graduates improves, so does the image of the university.

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