Academic Shortcuts and Profitable Plagiarism

Your institution uses software services like Turnitin.com so you can rest assured that student cheating will be caught, right?

Not so, says Thomas Bartlett of the Chronicle of Higher Education in an article on March 20, 2009. While many professors are aware of different services that help students write their papers for them, they may not be aware that it is a profitable and global industry they are up against.

These companies called essay mills write custom papers for students who pay per-page, and avoid software like Turnitin because the essays are original works; they just aren’t created by the student. The Chronicle tracked one of these companies, Best Essays, from Virginia to Ukraine to the Philippines, back to the US.
John Gordon of Future Tense interviewed Bartlett about the story on March 27 and it is well-worth the four minutes to listen.

What is a professor to do?  Solutions using technology can help but as Bartlett concludes, having a relationship with the student and their work is still the best deterrent.

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