Feature: Interview With Prof Ir Dr Rosli Hamir

By Jimmy Teo Hui Thia (jteo@oum.edu.my)

As the Chairman of the Student Disciplinary Committee, PROF IR DR ROSLI HAMIR is wellpositioned to speak about plagiarism from a disciplinary point of view.

Jimmy: In this Information Age, researching has become more like searching, cutting and pasting for many learners. What is your comment on this?

Prof Rosli: You are right. Many learners resort to this. Lifting someone else’s work verbatim and then passing it off as your own is unethical and wrong. In fact, recently we expelled a postgraduate student who submitted 90% of someone else’s thesis as his own. To us, this is a serious matter.

Jimmy: What types of plagiarism are common among learners in OUM?

Prof Rosli: There are many types of plagiarism. The most common is the cut and paste variety as you have already mentioned. This is clear-cut plagiarism.

Word switch plagiarism happens when learners take a sentence and change a few words, thinking that it is alright. However, this is still considered plagiarism. To avoid plagiarism, they should quote or paraphrase the person instead.

Another form of plagiarism among learners is style plagiarism. Here, even though the sentences in the paragraphs are different, the reasoning style of the author is the same.

Idea plagiarism is also rampant. This happens when an author’s creative ideas are lifted without acknowledgement. Learners should learn to reference the source. To know more about plagiarism, learners can go to www.plagiarism.org.

Jimmy: What will happen to a learner if he or she is caught plagiarising?

Prof Rosli: Learners who are caught plagiarising in an assignment, project paper or thesis will face stern penalties as mentioned in the student handbook. Learners would have to face the Student Disciplinary Committee. Then the university will decide on the next course of action to be taken. I want to take this opportunity to send a strong message to learners - do not hand in plagiarised work. Once caught, the consequences for the learner are severe.

Jimmy: What is your advice to tutors and learners on plagiarism?

Prof Rosli: As I said earlier, do not risk it as the punishment is severe. To the tutors, please explain and help the learners understand the assignment questions or the task at hand. Our tutors are highly qualifi ed and most of them are academicians. They should be able to guide the learners and advise them on how to avoid plagiarism. As for the learners, the university is a place to gain more knowledge and skills, so learn as much as you can, polish your research skills and submit original work. This would be more satisfying and rewarding in the end

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I can educate my learners about the wrongfulness of plagiarism by:

setting a good example i.e. not committing plagiarism myself in the notes or materials that I give them
teaching them the correct way to quote references in their assignments
explaining to them the difference between original work and plagiarised work
severely penalising them whenever they hand in plagiarised work
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