Why I write for an essay mill | Times Higher Education (THE)
So there does not appear to be any systematic solution to essay mills on the horizon, and responsibility for detecting and dealing with the issue continues to rest with individual academics and their universities.
Are Essay Mills Worth Worrying About? - Plagiarism Today
While there is no federal law against the operation of essay mills, there are over a dozen individual states in the US that have their own laws against them. The first major legal battle against an essay mill came in 1972 in the case of . This case involved the state challenging an essay mill's business with reference to the New York Education Law. The law "condemns the obtaining of a degree by fraudulent means or 'aiding and abetting' another to do the same." The state claimed that the students were using the term papers they purchased for credit and even though the company stated that the essays they wrote were for research purposes only, their advertising scheme encouraged otherwise by boasting about grades. The court determined that the disclaimers did not sufficiently protect the company because their encouragement of cheating and plagiarism hurt the educational system. The ruling called for the company to cease business in the State of New York. Several other legal battles have been fought since and have largely resulted in the punishment of the term paper writers rather than the students purchasing them.
For many years, essay mills have been brazenly advertising their wares online, although they are always careful not to condone customers handing in bought pieces of work, arguing that the essays purchased are intended simply as useful guides or reference material.
Sometimes as I decide what kind of papers to assign to my students, I worry about essay mills, companies whose sole purpose is to generate essays for high school and college students (in exchange for a fee, of course).We requested a term paper for a university-level social psychology class, 12 pages long, using 15 sources (cited and referenced in a bibliography). The paper was to conform to American Psychological Assn. style guidelines and needed to be completed in the next two weeks. All four of the essay mills agreed to provide such a paper, charging us in advance, between $150 and $216 for the paper.Professors in general are concerned about essay mills and their effect on learning, but not knowing exactly what they provide, I wasn't sure how concerned to be. So together with my lab manager Aline Grüneisen, I decided to check the services out. We ordered a typical college term paper from four different essay mills. The topic of the paper? Cheating.In this essay Mill also warns of a second danger to liberty, which democracies are prone to, namely, the tyranny of the majority. In a representative democracy, if you can control the majority (and get them to vote for, and elect, your candidates) then you can control everyone (because your candidates, once "democratically elected", will pass whatever laws are needed for this, as was done by Hitler's agents in the 1930s in Nazi Germany and seems to be happening today in the U.S.A.).It's comforting in a way that the technological revolution has not yet solved students' problems. They still have no other option but to actually work on their papers (or maybe cheat in the old-fashioned way and copy from friends). But I do worry about the existence of essay mills and the signal that they send to our students.Asking how many custom-written essays are being bought and sold in the UK is a bit like asking “how long is a piece of string?”, argues Thomas Lancaster, senior lecturer in computing at . For obvious reasons (including the fact that cheats do not want to be caught, essay mills operate online, and there are no official statistics), it is difficult to come by reliable figures.Custom essays, usually bought through websites known as essay mills, are in some ways an academic’s worst nightmare. Unlike standard examples of copy-and-paste plagiarism, they cannot be detected using software because they are “original” pieces of work - just not the student’s. They also arguably represent an even more cynical form of cheating than, for example, regurgitating unattributed passages in a piece of submitted work.Cheating by students who use essay mills is “virtually undetectable”, according to a study that found that many ghostwritten papers would receive good marks if they were submitted.The pair studied a large sample of essay mill sites between March 2005 and June 2013, and identified nearly 19,000 attempts at contract cheating by students.THE asked UK universities to provide details of the number of students they had disciplined in the academic years 2011-12 and 2012-13 for handing in custom essays or assignments bought from essay mills. Among the universities that responded to the request within 20 days, just 29 students were disciplined in 2011-12; in 2012-13, 30 students from 15 institutions were penalised.