Interview With Alex Lee Hong Sin
Interview by Azahar Ahmad Nizar (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALEX LEE HONG SIN is a highly qualifi ed tutor and
experienced module writer based in our Perak Learning
Azahar: Please describe your educational background.
Alex: I graduated with a double major degree in Computer
Science and Mathematics from Campbell University, US
in 1992. I worked in the information technology industry
for ten years and in the education industry for eight years.
I enrolled at Open University Malaysia (OUM) in 2005
and graduated in July 2007 with a Masters in Information
Azahar: What is your tutoring experience like in OUM?
Alex: It has been an awesome and challenging experience.
I am able to connect with the learners at their level of
interest and experience due to my industrial experience.
This helps me to understand my learners and their work
commitments. We are able to draw on our work experiences
and apply concepts to help solve problems and come up with
alternative solutions. I hope the learners will study hard and
be persistent in fi nishing their programme while enjoying
Azahar: What do you understand by “plagiarism”?
Alex: My defi nition of “plagiarism” is copying or using
(digitally or non-digitally) an author’s ideas or research fi ndings
without precisely acknowledging the author in your work.
Azahar: Why do you think learners plagiarise?
Alex: Firstly, I think learners plagiarise out of their
ignorance of the seriousness of the offence. Secondly,
learners are anxious about expressing their own ideas
because of poor command of the English language. Lastly,
learners lack confi dence when it comes to justifying their
recommendations through constructive argumentation.
Azahar: In your experience, how is plagiarism detected in
your learners’ work?
Alex: There are plenty of software and online websites
which we can use to check for plagiarism, provided that the
coursework is submitted in digital format. There are free
downloadable anti-plagiarism software, but these may not be
as effective as the paid ones. For hardcopy assignments, the
tutor is required to analyse the sentence structure, grammar,
choice of words and context.
Azahar: If learners continue to plagiarise, how will this
affect their learning?
Alex: If learners continue to plagiarise, they will not be
able to express themselves well and create their own ideas.
In Bloom’s taxonomy, there is a cognitive level called
“synthesis” in which the learners are required to read,
understand and digest the content. They are supposed to
think critically to generate new ideas based on the original
ideas of other scholars.
Azahar: What steps should be taken to ensure that learners
refrain from plagiarising?
Alex: On the fi rst day of tutorials, we should inform them of
the seriousness of the offence and that they will be punished
severely if found cheating. I usually ask my learners to sign
a written letter stating that they will not plagiarise their
coursework or risk failure. We should guide our learners
by showing them samples of plagiarised work as compared
to properly cited ones. Those who refrain from plagiarism
should be rewarded accordingly.