No smilies, no avatars, no flashing gifs. Just discuss the issues of the day, from last night's telly via football to science or philosophy.
Started by Tinymcsmithy on Oct 6, 2021 1:04:23 AM
‘Essay mills’ to be made illegal as part of crackdown on students cheating at uni

But how can this be enforced? Can they really ban someone selling writing services? Seems odd.

Natascha - 06 Oct 2021 01:11:33 (#1 of 47)

They can certainly detect plagiarism of parts of other essays. It's a fairly simple thing to do - so if someone submits an essay which is largely just cut and paste without sources being acknowledged, that gets picked up pretty quickly.

Tinymcsmithy - 06 Oct 2021 01:29:41 (#2 of 47)

Yes, I get that. They do that already.

But legally, how do you outlaw someone selling their writing services?

I mean, some students have always cheated. I suppose you can make that a criminal offence. (Although I don’t like the precedence).

But writing some text for money? How do you ban that? Aside from how do you enforce it, with many of these companies based overseas, I imagine.

Tinymcsmithy - 06 Oct 2021 01:34:30 (#3 of 47)

I mean if Student Grant asks Joe Bloggs to write him 10,000 words on ‘Aardvark management in 17th century Berlin’. Joe Bloggs does so and charges £350. Will a crime have been committed by Bloggs? Seems pretty draconian at best.

machiavelli - 06 Oct 2021 06:27:16 (#4 of 47)

If education is treated like a factory for churning out job-ready (ha!) drones, don't be surprised if said drones choose to optimise part of the process.

browserbutton - 06 Oct 2021 06:29:11 (#5 of 47)

Professor: "I can't be expected to spot plagiarism, I'm too busy."

Tinymcsmithy - 06 Oct 2021 06:31:33 (#6 of 47)

Professors don’t check for plagiarism. They have research assistants for that.

(Actually, they have automated software built into the submission process normally).

browserbutton - 06 Oct 2021 06:34:02 (#7 of 47)

Professor: "I don't even know if my students can write. It's just crowd management these days, a sea of faces."

machiavelli - 06 Oct 2021 06:39:06 (#8 of 47)

A past president of the NUS opined that degrees should be dumbed down because students needed them to get jobs and were paying for them after all.

If his attitude is widespread, those who think of education in such a utilitarian way will hardly bother themselves with academic rigour. The country has had 40 years of hearing "nothing has intrinsic value, everything is for sale" from the very top. Why is that top so surprised that the young have imbibed it?

And now for the legislative diarrhoea - the constant panacea of these miserable shits in government.

elderberry - 06 Oct 2021 09:35:04 (#9 of 47)

No one can stop cheating, but stopping the businesses that employ essay writers and advertise heavily to students seems a good idea - not sure quite how you stop a business mostly conducted online though. Probably impossible, so back to a significant chunk of assessment being based on essays written in class and on performance in practicals and tutorials. More hard work for academics.

Dementor - 06 Oct 2021 09:39:57 (#10 of 47)

Pffft - what kind of worthless degree expects people to write essays? /STEM.

dottie30 - 06 Oct 2021 09:40:34 (#11 of 47)

I once wrote for one of these sites when I was hard up and needed extra cash. I didn't do it for long because actually the pay isn't great given you have to produce a fully referenced essay of at least 2:i standard. The site takes most of the cash. You get paid more if the deadline is shorter. Wrote English Lit essays. I did feel sullied doing it though.

ReverendBlueJeans - 06 Oct 2021 09:40:35 (#12 of 47)

It's an old one, but I often show this report to students;

...and ask for comments.

Plagiarism is easy to spot, even before you roll out Turnitin. Targetting the supply side is harder. Won't they just re-register offshore?

Oh, and if anyone know the 'Michael Gunn' in yon article, give him a hard dry slap.

dottie30 - 06 Oct 2021 09:42:10 (#13 of 47)

And oh - the essay site retains the copyright to anything you write.

pmcblonde - 06 Oct 2021 09:44:02 (#14 of 47)

Lots of them are in India and China. They target international students in their first language which makes it harder to deal with. We have started IP blocking etc

Students pay enough for their degrees without paying these scammers

And in Covid the rise of online open book exams has led to REAL TIME contract cheating, especially in STEM subjects

ReverendBlueJeans - 06 Oct 2021 09:45:58 (#15 of 47)

And in Covid the rise of online open book exams...

There is also the more immediate problem of someone handing over the job to a pal or family member who knows more than them or can write better. And there's nothing you can do about that.

Tinymcsmithy - 06 Oct 2021 09:48:10 (#16 of 47)

I still don’t get what they are trying to make illegal. The act of writing for profit?

dottie30 - 06 Oct 2021 09:49:16 (#17 of 47)

In fairness when I was an undergrad we had 'take out papers'. Where you collected them at 9 am and brought them back at 6 pm. I suppose you could have given it to someone better (perhaps a masters student or a PhD student) to complete while you watched daytime TV. Don't think I know of anyone who did though.

ReverendBlueJeans - 06 Oct 2021 09:49:46 (#18 of 47)

I still don’t get what they are trying to make illegal.

They'll find it very hard. The sites I've looked at always have a wee health warning along the lines of 'These essays are provided as study aids and plagiarism is, like, wrong, yeah?'

Tinymcsmithy - 06 Oct 2021 09:50:32 (#19 of 47)


dottie30 - 06 Oct 2021 09:53:01 (#20 of 47)

Yeah, the site I wrote for made clear that students should not submit the essay as their own work and the site was not responsible for them doing so or some bollocks.

Check Subscriptions
Home » Issues