Thursday, November 18, 2010

Confessions of a custom-essay writer

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a rather unsettling story by the man who writes your students papers. This is a must-read for anyone concerned about plagiarism and academic integrity. Some of the more disturbing pieces of information he shares include the fact that none of his "clients" have ever complained about getting caught.

The anonymous writer boasts of how much money he makes, how business is booming. Then he adds the usual invective the dishonest use to deflect responsibility for their actions: he blames us.

I live well on the desperation, misery, and incompetence that your educational system has created.

Don't worry - it gets worse:

For those of you who have ever mentored a student through the writing of a dissertation, served on a thesis-review committee, or guided a graduate student through a formal research process, I have a question: Do you ever wonder how a student who struggles to formulate complete sentences in conversation manages to produce marginally competent research? How does that student get by you?

Like it or not, "Ed Dante" poses a valid question. Do students here at Golden Gate University "get by us" using unique, custom-made papers? Do you have in-class writing assignments that allow you to compare "live" writing samples to finished assignments? What other strategies do you use to detect or deter plagiarism? How do they relate to custom-written papers? Please share your thought in the comments.

Plagiarism has grown into a major problem given the ubiquitous and anonymous nature of internet and internet-based businesses. To give you some perspective, the company Dante works for employs about 50 writers. And there are many more such companies "out there." What do we do about this?