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Article about higher ed cheating--from the man who writes the papers


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I'm putting this up for discussion. I'm curious to hear people's reactions/thoughts/ideas. The author makes some interesting points. Especially scary is his conclusion that education students are the most frequent cheaters.

 

Can anything be done? What are the implications? How do we get our own children to not do this?

 

http://chronicle.com/article/article-content/125329/

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Yes, and then you add to the equation the fact that ghost writing occurs in some of the textbooks that those professors claim to be their own.......yes, this is true. So, what has higher ed come to and who are we kidding in the long run?

 

Mary

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I've read a few of these.... I don't know if I'm seeing the worst of them - but these papers stink!!!! The writing is at a 6th radelevel most of the time. Out of pride alone for my own writing ability I'd never turn one of these papers in!

 

ETA: He seems quite articulate - which I think is the exception.

 

I am close to the finish line of an online graduate degree in Ancient and Classical history (yes - very useful,,, I know), and the blantant cheating I have seen from other students is distressing. On the on-line discussion postings - I am amazed at the amount of "copy and paste" directly from the internet that is happening. One of the students was completely inarticulate, but in between mangled sentences there would be paragraphs of perfect writing... duh.

 

I have had one professor who did anything about it. One. Almost 2/3rds of the class I was taking plagarized their academic book reviews.... one of them even copied information from the teacher's own website. I don't know what the consequences were for those students, but the professor was so angry.

Edited by SailorMom
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Dd and I just had a conversation about cramming for finals and how that also affected one's college education. I think the best thing we can do to help our children to avoid things like cheating on papers and cramming for exams is to make sure they understand that people who do those things might just as well hand all their tuition money over to some clerk with a marker who will check the box next to Graduate and then take their money and burn it.

 

They receive no learning, only a check mark to indicate that they graduated so that they can put it on a resume and possibly talk some employeer into hiring them. Unfortunately, they shouldn't expect much from their job because they won't know how to do it, since they didn't study in any effective way and didn't learn anything.

 

I am trying to raise my dd to be a smart consumer who will require value for her dollars spent. To lay out that kind of money and not have achieved the maximum benefit is like getting cheated themselves. The problem is that they were the ones who did the cheating.

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Ignorance always outs itself. That's what I tell my ds all the time. You can cheat your way through school, but down the road, when you are actually called upon to use what you were supposed to have learned, your ignorance will be exposed. It happens all the time. I work with employers who are baffled by high school graduates that can barely read enough to fill out simple forms, or who can't even multiply single-digit numbers in their head. They're even more baffled by university graduates who can't write a coherent paragraph.

 

Ds knows all about cheating and ripping off papers. His ps friends are always talking about ways to do it. He doesn't have anyone to cheat from in homeschool, though, and he knows I won't let him get away with copy and paste from websites.

 

All I can do is keep repeating: Ignorance always outs itself. I will continue to teach him how to do his own work, and I will continue to hope that will resonate with him long after our homeschool journey has ended.

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I'm putting this up for discussion. I'm curious to hear people's reactions/thoughts/ideas. The author makes some interesting points. Especially scary is his conclusion that education students are the most frequent cheaters.

 

Can anything be done? What are the implications? How do we get our own children to not do this?

 

http://chronicle.com/article/article-content/125329/

 

I don't know; it's hard to consider him a credible source. He's a liar and cheater but bemoans cheating? Why did he write that? So he gets less business--or more?

 

The most common form of cheating is simply lifting stuff off the internet; software programs can detect that.

 

It strains my credulity to believe that someone can just fire off top notch papers on subjects he knows nothing about with a tight deadline, but whatever, maybe he's a genius who really only wants $66,000 per year. Now if he said he wrote only English papers or only psych and sociology, etc, that would be more believable.

 

I would expect that my kids know that to purchase the services of someone like him is dishonest and that would be the biggest reason that they don't cheat like that.

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I actually think I could do this easily if I was a better writer and enjoyed writing. I am a competent writer but it doesn't come that quickly to me and I don't enjoy it. I also have morals and wouldn't do it. But I could certainly outline papers for people and find sources for them on subjects I no hardly anything about. I think the hardest aspect of the job would be to keep the same writing voice for the same student but have it be different for different students. Writing or talking about things you don't know isn't very hard if you have some prep time.

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I've read a few of these.... I don't know if I'm seeing the worst of them - but these papers stink!!!! The writing is at a 6th radelevel most of the time. Out of pride alone for my own writing ability I'd never turn one of these papers in!

 

ETA: He seems quite articulate - which I think is the exception.

 

I am close to the finish line of an online graduate degree in Ancient and Classical history (yes - very useful,,, I know), and the blantant cheating I have seen from other students is distressing. On the on-line discussion postings - I am amazed at the amount of "copy and paste" directly from the internet that is happening. One of the students was completely inarticulate, but in between mangled sentences there would be paragraphs of perfect writing... duh.

 

I have had one professor who did anything about it. One. Almost 2/3rds of the class I was taking plagarized their academic book reviews.... one of them even copied information from the teacher's own website. I don't know what the consequences were for those students, but the professor was so angry.

 

Where are you doing your degree? This sounds like the kind of "useful" degree I would love (as I am about to finish my master's in theology for no particular reason :D).

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I actually think I could do this easily if I was a better writer and enjoyed writing. I am a competent writer but it doesn't come that quickly to me and I don't enjoy it. I also have morals and wouldn't do it. But I could certainly outline papers for people and find sources for them on subjects I no hardly anything about. I think the hardest aspect of the job would be to keep the same writing voice for the same student but have it be different for different students. Writing or talking about things you don't know isn't very hard if you have some prep time.

 

But that's part of the credulity problem: he said a lot of the time, he gets them with a tight deadline.

 

I think the time write a decent paper on a subject you don't know much about would be significant: there is library time, reading time, writing time.

 

Wasn't one of the papers he was asked to do supposedly 75 pages?

 

If he is legit about being illegit, it's hard to figure the motive for writing the piece.

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Heather - American Public University-

I don't know about the rest of their programs - but I'll tell you.... I am not buying my degree! I write about 75 pages per class, and have so much reading - if I was to read it all I would never sleep.

Useless, yeah - I'm pretty much just doing it to do it.... not much I can do later. However - it has been a great way to brush up on my writing skills. I am a far better writer now than I was. Dh and I plan to retire on a boat and sail all over for about 8-10 years, and I hope that by writing.... something.... I can pull in a little extra income.

 

I feel as if he is exagerrating, but there is at least some truth there. I would never do what he is doing for only $66,000 though! When I am really cranking out work, I can write about 15 pages a day - and that is with all of the reasearch already done. Of course, I actually care how the paper looks and sounds :)

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I graduated from college in 1997, before the widespread use of the Internet, so cheating was much harder. Also, I was too poor to afford to buy papers, so that would have prevented it too. It never occurred to me to do this, not to sound holier-than-thou, but it didn't. I think my parents instilled honesty in me. And my parents were teachers too. I also enjoy writing, that helps. But yes, I think instilling honesty in children is the way to go. I never ever saw my parents lie, not even when a telemarketer called--they would say someone was not available, but no that they weren't home if they weren't. I think teaching by example is the best thing, and instilling a love of reading and writing and a lack of electronic junk is the way to go--anyway it worked for me. And keeping your dc too poor to afford it! :)

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I graduated from college in 1997, before the widespread use of the Internet, so cheating was much harder. Also, I was too poor to afford to buy papers, so that would have prevented it too. It never occurred to me to do this, not to sound holier-than-thou, but it didn't. I think my parents instilled honesty in me. And my parents were teachers too. I also enjoy writing, that helps. But yes, I think instilling honesty in children is the way to go. I never ever saw my parents lie, not even when a telemarketer called--they would say someone was not available, but no that they weren't home if they weren't. I think teaching by example is the best thing, and instilling a love of reading and writing and a lack of electronic junk is the way to go--anyway it worked for me. And keeping your dc too poor to afford it! :)

 

I never heard of anyone buying papers when I was in school and I hung out with a likely group to have done so (lots of guy athletes many of whom were from ritzy backgrounds.) There were at least a few in the crowd who would have done it had it been available, I've no doubt. And they wouldn't have covered it up. I don't think this level of cheating was common probably because it wasn't as easily available. Sneaking notes into a test, copying off someone else's test, etc. were common, but not wholesale buying of papers. That's not to say that someone somewhere didn't do it, but I think I would have known about it if it was going on commonly.

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I read this and it made me terribly ill. It made me fear for my daughter who is so morally clear she couldn't fathom why anyone would even consider such measures. However, being dyslexic means it takes her FAR longer to write anything and I could see her suffering for it, especially in a realm where this behavior occurs.

 

But that said, having done a PhD and continuing to write to this day - what the author says he does is not outside the realm of possibility. When I am rolling I can crank out 4 pages an hour (first draft unedited). I have enough experience to recognize quality research references quickly and could probably gather enough info for a typical term paper on the internet in about two hours. It sounded like the author actually gets an outline of an idea, theme or topic before he starts. Then it is just a matter of filling up the pages with backup material. It doesn't make it right, but it is absolutely possible for someone with experience.

 

Ick. I hate that he has a market.

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I wrote other people's papers throughout high school and undergrad when I was young, poor, and DUMB! It wasn't until my mid-20s after teaching college English that I understood the implications of what I had done.

 

I even wrote papers before widespread use of the Internet. While it's easier to cheat by copying and pasting from online sources, it's also easier to get caught. When I taught, I ran all papers through a website that checks for plagiarism and it gave the percentage of words copied as well as a break down of what was copied from which site. If you pay someone, the teacher won't be able to prove you cheated even if cheating is suspected.

 

I feel guilty for having been apart of it, but hey, you live and you learn.

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I never understood how anyone thought they could get away with this.

 

To the people who use these services, they think that college grades are everything. They don't realize they'll actually have to apply their "skills" in their career field.

 

The thought of cheating has always made me sick to my stomach. I'm the paranoid type.

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It strains my credulity to believe that someone can just fire off top notch papers on subjects he knows nothing about with a tight deadline /QUOTE]

 

I'm just a few weeks away from graduating with a BA. The truth is, it doesn't have to be top notch. I've fired off papers with little prep in a few hours and received As - I think it was because the profs were so relieved to see proper grammar, punctuation, and formatting for a change. I work hard and usually give my best effort, but, sadly, I could probably have pretty close to the same GPA just skating by.

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