Universities must warn students of essay mill scams ahead of September

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on August 6th, 2021 by steve

“Cyber attacks targeting students are nothing new, with many scams typically dangling tempting financial opportunities. Every year, coinciding with the start of a new term, student loan fraud is common. Freshers in particular are targeted by phishing emails purporting to be from the Student Loan Company and asking for bank account details or username and password credentials before their money is released …” (more)

[Henry Hughes, Wonkhe, 6 August]

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‘I Signed Up to Write College Essays for Rich Kids. I Found Cheating Is More Complicated Than I Thought.’

Posted in Teaching on July 6th, 2021 by steve

“Like many English majors before me, I found myself walking across the graduation stage in 2019 knowing my college days were behind me – and that I’d soon be unemployed. Despite giving it my all and winding up with a near-perfect GPA, my only immediate options were continuing my part-time bartending job or going to grad school. Since I had already amassed nearly $70,000 in student loans, I chose the former …” (more)

[Slate, 6 July]

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Online learning should change the way that exams work

Posted in Teaching on June 29th, 2021 by steve

“As university students wait on their mid-year exam results, some will no doubt be thinking about more than just passing. Since COVID-19 pushed teaching and testing online last year, the issue of cheating has come into sharper focus …” (more)

[Linda Rowan and Fiona Murray, University World News, 26 June]

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Policing online cheating is adding to workload, lecturers say

Posted in Teaching on April 6th, 2021 by steve

Ireland“Lecturing staff in third-level educational institutions have experienced a significant increase in workload following the move to remote teaching during the pandemic, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has said. Survey findings released by the union ahead of its annual conference next week found 92 per cent of lecturers saying they were spending more time preparing and providing remote classes and carrying out associated work than they would have spent on face-to-face delivery …” (more)

[Martin Wall, Irish Times, 2 April]

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Students and Contract Cheating

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on November 18th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Dr Brian Maguire, Director of Quality Assurance at Quality and Qualifications Ireland, and Kevin McStravock, Deputy President and VP for Academic Affairs for the Union of Students in Ireland, discuss e-learning and contract cheating …” (audio)

[RTÉ – Drivetime, 18 November]

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Are Essay Mills Threatening the Integrity of Academia?

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on October 7th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Academic misconduct is an age-old practice. It dates back to the Ming and Qing dynasties, when Chinese students used miniature copies of books to cheat in their civil-service examinations. Fast forward a few thousand years, and cheating in academia is still alive and well – it has simply taken on a new, more sophisticated form …” (more)

[Naoise D’Arcy, University Times, 7 October]

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Third-Year Medicine Students Receive Warning After Accusation of Cheating

Posted in Teaching on June 20th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Trinity medical students have been warned that cheating in their Ear, Nose and Throat exam today may lead to ‘significant disciplinary consequences’ and possibly prevent them from receiving a grade for the module, after a review of yesterday’s Ophthalmology exam concluded that students had likely cheated on it …” (more)

[Cormac Watson, University Times, 19 June]

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A 20 Foot Cable And The Explosion Of Online Cheating

Posted in Teaching on April 5th, 2020 by steve

“Millions of college students are suddenly going to school online, whether they wanted to or not. Testing those students, administering the assessments of these newly displaced students is, well, a major test for the house of academia. That’s because students cheat …” (more)

[Derek Newton, Forbes, 5 April]

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Academic Integrity in Online Assessment

Posted in Teaching on April 4th, 2020 by steve

“In support of the move to online assessment in the context of Coronavirus Covid19, the following recommendations may be useful in the design and implementation of alternative assessment to minimise concerns about academic integrity …” (more)

[IUA, 3 April]

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‘Academic Discipline Integration by Contract Cheating Services and Essay Mills’

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on January 7th, 2020 by steve

Abstract: Contract cheating services are marketing to students at discipline level, using increasingly sophisticated techniques. The discipline level reach of these services has not been widely considered in the academic integrity literature. Much of the academic understanding of contract cheating is not discipline specific, but the necessary solutions to this problem may need to vary by discipline. This paper reviews current knowledge about contract cheating services at the discipline level, including summarising four studies that rank the relative volume of contract cheating within different academic disciplines. The reviewed studies show high volumes of contract cheating transactions in the disciplines of Business and Computing. Examples of discipline level contract cheating research and service advertising are provided. The main contribution of the paper is an analysis of the discipline level reach by contract cheating services as seen through an analysis of Google search results from the United Kingdom. This analysis of 19 discipline groups uses measures of organic search engine results, paid results and competition. Three discipline groups are shown as currently being heavily exploited by essay mills; these are: (1) Architecture, Building and Planning, (2) Computer Science and (3) Law. In addition, the discipline group of Creative Arts and Design is shown to be at risk of future exploitation. The paper recommends that academics are made aware about continual change in the contract cheating industry including the involved marketing taking place at discipline level. The paper concludes with a call to action for academia to develop discipline specific solutions to contract cheating.

Lancaster, T, Academic Discipline Integration by Contract Cheating Services and Essay Mills. Journal of Academic Ethics (2020), doi:10.1007/s10805-019-09357-x. Published: 7 January 2020.

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Exam Mills

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on November 18th, 2019 by steve

IrelandDrivetime‘s John Cooke talks to students in UL about exam mills, and Deirdre Stritch, programme manager with QQI, talks to Mary about the new rules that have been introduced to clamp down on academic cheating …” (mp3)

[RTÉ – Drivetime, 18 November]

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Crackdown on third level essay writing services begins in wake of anti-cheating laws

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on November 15th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“A legal crackdown on the growing number of services writing essays or other assignments for third-level students is under way. New anti-cheating laws came into effect last week making it an offence either to provide or advertise cheating services or to publish adverts promoting such services …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 15 November]

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Academic cheating using paid-for essays ‘poses threat to integrity of third level’

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on November 14th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Academic cheating using online ‘essay mills’ is posing a significant threat to the integrity of higher education, the State body responsible for policing standards in third level has warned. International research indicates there has been a sharp rise in written-to-order essays and dissertations, with as many as one in seven graduates admitting to paying someone to undertake an assignment for them …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 14 November]

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What should universities do about organised cheating?

Posted in Teaching on September 16th, 2019 by steve

International“Every so often the world of higher education is swept by a big panic about systemic and widespread cheating. The latest instance is concern about contract cheating or essay mills that provide bespoke essays or papers for students …” (more)

[University Ranking Watch, 16 September]

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‘Ban all watches from exams to stop cheating’

Posted in Teaching on September 10th, 2019 by steve

“All watches should be banned from exam halls to discourage cheating, says an inquiry into the extent of malpractice in exams taken by pupils across the UK. Smart watches, connected to the internet, are already banned from use by students taking public exams …” (more)

[Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 10 September]

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NUI Galway president says cheating remains low despite threat by new technology

Posted in Teaching on August 9th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“The President of NUI Galway says while instances of exam cheating are increasing, overall the number of cases remains extremely small. Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh is reacting to new figures which reveal ‘smart watches’ are being linked with increases in cheating at colleges nationwide …” (more)

[Galway Bay FM, 8 August]

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Surge in university students wearing banned smartwatches in exams

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on August 8th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Universities have recorded a sharp increase in the number of students wearing banned smartwatches in exam halls. Most third-level institutions prohibit the use of Fitbits, Apple Watches and other devices which allow users to upload and access documents …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 8 August]

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The Irish Times view on cheating in third-level exams: Education is key to tackling problem

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on November 23rd, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Cheating in higher education has never been easier. Online essay-writing services allow students to access written-to-order assignments and dissertations at a few hours’ notice. Smartphones and small electronic devices can provide access to information in an exam hall and allow students to gain an unfair advantage …” (more)

[Irish Times, 22 November]

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Cheating on the rise in Irish universities

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on November 20th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Cheating is on the rise in Irish universities and colleges with business studies students most likely to be accused of ‘academic dishonesty’. Since 2010, there have been at least 2,300 cases of students cheating at universities and institutes of technology, according to information compiled by The Irish Times based on Freedom of Information requests …” (more)

[Peter McGuire and Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 20 November]

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Who are the biggest cheaters in Irish universities?

Posted in Legal issues, Teaching on November 20th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“There’s always been a temptation to cheat, and sneaking phones into exam halls or plagiarising from the internet has made it easier than ever before. Technology has also made it much easier to be caught, however, with higher education institutions increasingly using sophisticated plagiarism-detection tools such as TurnItIn and SafeAssign …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 20 November]

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