Wednesday, December 5, 2012

High Distinctions for Sale

Turnitin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hi Readers,

The following article by Patrick O'Keefe exemplifies one of Australia's universities (and universities right around the Western world) major problems, that of academic integrity.

The problem just seems to get worse.My view, having been the Academic Integrity Officer for two Australian universities, is that academic staff need to be very tough on every single plagiariser, and penalise them early in their degrees so that they get the message. Read further on Patrick O'Keefe's view.

by Patrick O'Keeffe, On Line Opinion:

The emergence of numerous sites offering essay writing services to students has universities scrambling to change policies on academic misconduct.

Within Australia, the issue of plagiarism was magnified in October 2012, when an article published by The Australian, centered on the expulsion of 9 students from Deakin University. The students were expelled for submitting essays which they had purchased online.

Detecting just who is submitting their own work is seemingly an impossible task for universities. This is made easier by software such as Turnitin, which is now in widespread use within higher education institutions.

As explained by Kelly Heyboer writing for The Star Ledger, "The Turnitin software allows professors to upload a paper and instantly check the text against 14 billion web pages and an archive of 150 million student papers. The professors are sent a report detailing any sentences or paragraphs in the student paper that appear to be lifted from other sources."

Some claim that programs such as Turnitin might actually be creating the situation where students are more likely to plagiarise. Speaking with The Age, Dr Ruth Walker of Wollongong University stated that programs such as Turnitin had a negative impact upon student anxiety, stating that "When people are more anxious they can do bad things."

International Education Association of Australia Executive Director Phil Honeywood claimed that despite the use of Turnitin, "tracking down plagiarism is not a perfect science."

Purchasing essays, on the other hand, appears to be a relatively perfect science. Out of interest (and as if to model the modern researching strategy), I googled 'essays for sale'. Surely it wouldn't be as easy as that, I foolishly thought. To my surprise, a number of different websites immediately popped up offering students "first rate" essays from as little as $9 per 300 word page.

'Tailored Essays' ask of their customers, "How would you like to save hours and days of your valuable time by having a first-rate writer complete a quality essay for you?" Who could possibly say no to that? For $19.95 per page, a student can have an essay in their inbox within 24 hours. Comedy must be a strong suit of the Tailored Essay writers, who claim that:

"We have three payment options regarding how fast you want you custom written essay to be done. To save your money, place your next order now and avoid deadline pressures. And did we mention that you receive bibliography page for free?"

Maybe a set of steak knives as well?

To read further, go to:
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