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By Way2k Way2k
Way2k 3 Oct 2012
Inconsistency in DU Course Syllabi

A Delhi University proposal to introduce a "B.Tech Innovation" course that combines mathematics and IT has sparked allegations that its syllabus document has plagiarised text from foreign universities’ websites.

Inconsistency in DU Course Syllabi

The Common Teachers Forum, an association of DU teachers, has claimed that at least 23 small and large chunks of text seem to have been created by cutting and pasting text, near verbatim, from these websites.
They say that even this was done so carelessly that the syllabus document has an inexplicable inconsistency. On page 13, it says that students who get an "F" grade would need to repeat theory and practical courses but on page 17, it says those who get an "F" will be recommended for an M.Sc Informatics degree.

"So we’re not just looking at a cut-and-paste job, it’s also a mindless cut-and-paste job," said Abha Dev Habib, physics teacher at DU-affiliated Miranda House and a member of the DU Teachers Association (DUTA) executive council.
Senior DU teachers and forum members say it is ironic that the university plans to offer the course at a new centre for higher education that is to be named the "Cluster Innovation Centre".

"There appears to be a bankruptcy in ideas to even articulate a description of the course without resorting to blatant plagiarism," said forum member Sachin Narayanan. He and three coordinators of the forum have posted a blog titled "Is there an innovation in plagiarism: DU’s hour of shame".
"This will hurt the university’s credibility," Sachin told The Telegraph. The document on the CIC and the B.Tech Innovation course has no named authors but it was discussed at DU’s academic council meeting yesterday, he said.

The forum has cited examples of text reproduced from the websites of the universities of Edinburgh and Manchester, the Harvard Business School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others.
Forum and DUTA members believe the document was prepared under the direction of vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh, a mathematics professor. Some DUTA members have also objected to what they say is the hurry with which the proposal was pushed through at Saturday’s meeting.

Singh was not available for comment. Bal Kishan Dass, professor and head of DU’s mathematics department, said the proposal for the innovation centre and the B.Tech course had been "widely appreciated" and accepted at the academic council meeting.
"The plan involves something new and innovative," Dass said, adding that the meeting had discussed the charge that the syllabus contained verbatim text from other sources without attribution. "If this is true, it will be removed. The draft is being looked into and the final draft will be put up after a few days."

Many mathematicians approve of the concept of this proposed course, which will be open to students who have completed Class XII.
"I think students who complete it will have a wide range of useful and marketable skills," said Gautam Menon, a scientist at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, who was not associated with the proposal. "But I’m saddened that the syllabus material and motivation seems to be largely constructed as a cut-and-paste job."

Menon and others, though, argue that since the document was intended for internal consideration and was not a public document, the plagiarism reflected "bad judgement and thoughtlessness, nothing more".

Courtesy: Telegraph India

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