Monday, November 15, 2010

A voice from a term-paper mill

A writer of “custom essays” tells all:

You’ve never heard of me, but there’s a good chance that you’ve read some of my work. I’m a hired gun, a doctor of everything, an academic mercenary. My customers are your students. I promise you that. Somebody in your classroom uses a service that you can’t detect, that you can’t defend against, that you may not even know exists.

The Shadow Scholar (Chronicle of Higher Education)
One way to defend against it: occasional short in-class writing.

Related posts
Adventures in cheating
“Plagiarism free”

(Thanks, Carrie and Elaine.)

comments: 3

Ben said...

Maybe he's not the reason for the students' desires to cheat, but he's certainly responsible for making this sort of cheating a real option. I have no sympathy for the guy.

Paul said...

I'm told that the suspicious teacher can sometimes google a block of the text and find the source or at least another incarnation of it to show it's not original to the student.

Michael Leddy said...

Ben, I’m with you.

Paul, the problem with a term-paper mill is that the paper is (presumably) original; it’s just not the student’s work, and it’s (presumably) nowhere to be found online. It seems to me that paying close attention to students’ writing — drafts, revisions, office meetings — and assigning occasional in-class writing would make it much more difficult for students to succeed in cheating by means of a paper mill.