Prof. Naif Al-Mutiri: AOU commits to apply standards of honesty, and accountability, and requirements of local and international accreditation
Prof. Ashraf Hussein: Academic Integrity is priority and pillar to AOU
A number of academics praised the great role of the Arab Open University (AOU) in developing and promoting the process of education and AOU’s success in applying all the standards of quality assurance and academic integrity on the local and international level.
This came in a seminar titled “Academic Integrity” recently organized by the Sector of Education and Information Technology at AOU in cooperation with Turnitin (Plagiarism Checker) and Techknowledge, and in participation of Prof. Naif Al-Mutiri, AOU Director in Kuwait, and Prof. Ashraf Hussein, AOU Vice President for Education and Information Technology Affairs, along with a number of representatives from the organizing parties.
Opening the seminar, Prof. Al-Mutiri welcomed all and commended the strenuous efforts of Prof. Moudhi Al-Humoud, President of AOU, and her keen interest in supporting all initiatives and activities of the AOU Kuwait branch and other AOU branches operating in a number of Arab countries.
Prof. Al-Mutiri said that AOU commits to all requirements of local and international accreditation bodies and all standards of honesty, accountability, and academic integrity established for the work organization of higher education institutions. During his speech, he addressed a number of examples of academic integrity to which the AOU Kuwait branch is committed. Among these examples is the use of online exams for English courses, the use of applications to guide students in their study plans, the examination proctoring procedures, and the use of Microsoft 365 applications among work sectors to secure the workflow. In addition, he added the University held a number of workshops to train its tutors on the use of Turnitin to evaluate Tutor Marked Assignments (TMA), pointing out that one of the AOU's accomplishments indicating its commitment to academic integrity is the accreditation of its program ‘Computing and Information Technology’ by IET- UK from 2012 to 2018.
On his part, Prof. Hussien said that the seminar came as an initiative from the Sector of Education and Information Technology to implement one of its goals set in the AOU strategic plan. He pointed out one of the fundamental principles adopted by AOU is the promotion of academic integrity, which is integral to its strategy that seeks the equality between students irrespective of nationality, religion, and social background, and hones students’ skills and experiences required in labor markets, and raises the confidence of local and international accreditation bodies and labor markets in AOU’s educational system and quality of its outcomes.
To comply with academic integrity, Prof. Hussein emphasized that the University has adopted a unique model based on three main pillars. The first one rests on a solid system of decision making that reviews policies and procedures of academic integrity, plagiarism penalties, and ways of avoiding plagiarism. The second pillar centers on faculties whose function is to develop faculty members’ competencies, particularly in the blended learning system. In addition, deanships have a big role in the quality assurance, the optimization of available technological means, the plagiarism detection means, and the application of penalties in accordance with the AOU applicable rules and regulations. The third pillar rests on students who are required to attend workshops that raise their awareness of academic integrity, the best practices, and the nature of electronic exams in addition to their commitment to getting training on procedures of academic integrity, techniques of time management, and means of dealing with knowledge sources, quotations, and intellectual property. He concluded that AOU has a deep faith that education is the fundamental key to solve all contemporary problems, and the quality of educational services based on academic integrity is at the top of AOU priorities.
After that, a number of representatives from TechKnowledge and Turnitin addressed some updates on applications relevant to academic integrity and technology ofplagiarism prevention. Marten-Jan Horck talked about international integrity concepts and the role of Turnitin in implementing it. Then, Assem AlHajj addressed the types of plagiarism, Ghostwriting issues, and best practices. Ilyes Hariza concluded the seminar by a presentation including the concept of prevention before detection, the role of faculties feedback in improving students writing skills, research methodologies, and academic integrity and standards.