Global Innovation Awards 2016: Winner
Category: Academic Integrity | Europe
Javier Belda IniestaProfessor, Canon Law & History of Law, Law Faculty & Academic Secretary, International Doctoral School: Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia, Spain
“Little by little, we made the students see that this was not a tool to persecute them, but to help them to obtain their academic degree in a dignified manner.”
Javier teaches at a large global university that offers both traditional and online courses to 18,000 students, many of whom are professionals pursuing graduate degrees remotely and at their own pace. After dealing with too many incidents of plagiarism, including the embarrassing situation of having to turn away a doctoral student at his dissertation defense because 80 percent of it was plagiarized, the University decided to start using Turnitin.
That kind of situation would never happen now, says Javier, because students are required to use Turnitin to evaluate every assignment throughout their program. This is particularly helpful for remote students. In his role as Research Coordinator for his faculty, he was instrumental in convincing the university to expand its usage of Turnitin to institute this requirement, as well as implement a “certification” process for student work. Before presenting any final work, students (and project tutors) are asked to sign a sworn declaration of authenticity, and forward the Originality Reports to Javier.
Javier explains that the intent has never been punitive.
“Little by little, we made the students see that this was not a tool to persecute them, but to help them to obtain their academic degree in a dignified manner,” says Javier.
Javier has also written manuals for students in his faculty on how to research properly and guarantee authenticity of their work. Students and lecturers often come to him for advice and guidance throughout their courses.
As a result, unoriginal writing has reduced by almost 30 percent, and it has transformed their academic culture.