Contract Cheating

I’m kicking off my new semester teaching communication ethics with a discussion about an ethical challenge students are familiar with:  Cheating.

A testing center at Penn State uses high-tech surveillance to watch for student cheating.  (Photo:  Jim Lo Scalzo for USN&WR)

When I first taught this class many years ago, I featured a Blog about the University of Central Florida (UCF) cheating scandal, whereby a professor accused students of cheating on the midterm exam.  Since that time, UCF and many other institutions have gone high tech to fight cheating, and the use of online plagiarism detection services (such as Turnitin.com) have become commonplace. 

A not-so-new cheating buzzword caught my attention this year:  “contract cheating.”  I have long been aware of professional services that provide written work for a fee, but I was not aware how much attention this topic has garnered or how much the practice has grown among college students

I agree the companies that provide this service have become more conspicuous, and students may have become more jaded to the seriousness of this offence.  In an NPR news story about students cheating their way through college, I was struck by one student who didn’t consider it “cheating” if she paid someone to write “original” work.

“They don’t plagiarize,” she said, “…they write everything on their own.”

As much as professors would like to think this topic is black-and-white, it is not.  There are many different positions you could take.  Some cast blame on educators and even our parents.  There also are many ethical approaches you could take to explore the reasoning that leads to cheating, including utilitarianism, virtue ethics, even social contract theory and many more. 

The International Center for Academic Integrity sponsors an International Day of Action against contract cheating (coming October 16).

I look forward to engaging this year’s class on the topic and to hearing your views and perspectives.

[Click below to leave a comment.]



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32 Responses to Contract Cheating

  1. Tara Sahli says:

    The act of contract cheating constitutes unethically for several reasons- while it can be argued that this is original work being turned in and therefore not plagiarism, youre still claiming someone elses work as your own which is the definition of plagiarism. Additionally one of the articles discussed this in comparison to celebrities using ghostwriters, but made the point that students differ in that they are demonstrating a learned skill, not creating something for enjoyment. In order to be an active learner you have to participate in that learning and have it evaluated by a teacher to help correct your errors and misunderstandings. A high workload is understandably frustrating but paying for an essay defeats the purpose of paying thousands for a higher education.

  2. Madison Opalinski says:

    This was an interesting article with strong ideas in them that made me think about this whole topic of this ethical issues that universities are trying to understand a bit more of. In this situation I understand both viewpoints that was mentioned in the article as well as the NPR clip. One line in the NPR piece that really stood out is that someone said something like the person writing the essay may not be plagiarizing but the student may be. This made me question what I believed for myself and with reading peoples options I think that this is cheating to a certain degree but I also think that in this era, schools and or individual classrooms need to make a strict rule behind this just so there is no confusion later on.

  3. Isabella Dias says:

    In my opinion, contract cheating is highly unethical. All students deal with pressure and time management issues, however, what should matter more than an assignment is the student’s honesty. Jedidiah Evan’s article states that international students demonstrate higher cheating behavior due to the lack of support for language and learning development. Even though I personally comprehend that sometimes it is difficult to fully understand what is asked of you due to cultural and language barriers, I do believe several resources can be used other than paying someone to complete the assessment. It is a matter of knowing whether the student is willing to research and educate themselves about these resources, or if they rather hire someone else to do it.

    As a college student myself, I do understand the motivation behind getting someone else to do your work. The pressure is high and time is short, however, college is about becoming a more experienced and knowledgeable version of yourself, therefore, doing your work as a way to learn. All in all, I believe the main thing that differentiates those who choose to pay someone to their work and those who put in the effort and write their original piece is integrity.

  4. Sergio Agustin says:

    It’s sad to read that some students truly do not see the issue of paying a third party to do their assignments. From increasing pressures coming at them from all sides, I can understand why they perhaps would perceive this a good solution, but in reality, it’s like putting a bandaid on a cracked wall. Like Tovia Smith said on that NPR article, “Only when learning is valued more than grades will students believe that cheating on essays is only cheating themselves.”

  5. claire swanson says:

    Have you ever met someone that’s cheated before? Maybe copied a friend’s homework, let their eyes wonder during a test or plagiarized an essay they found online? We’ve all witnessed it, or at least heard about it. Cheating is everywhere nowadays only continuously becoming more accessible and trickier with the advancements in technology, but thanks to services like Turn It In, Authorship Investigate, and computer tracking, schools have been able to manage cheating slightly better. However, a new developments of contract cheating and essay mills, have blown up the ghostwritten essays world and evermore cheating from students according to the NPR link.

    Hearing the former teacher, April Short, speak on the issue was a shock to me as she was in support of these growing essay mils. Her argument was that students lack time and that creating an essay doesn’t define their ability to have a successful career afterwards. She even applauds them for utilizing these resources. A counterargument I bring up to that is: what are we teaching these young developing students then? That cheating your way through life is okay? That laziness is the standard? The Conversation Journal states that up to 31 million university students across the world are paying a company, party or source to do their work. That statistic is overwhelming. College is a time for students to develop studying habits, work ethic, time management and ultimately to prepare for the work world, so hearing students and even teachers say this behavior is acceptable is worrisome to me and the future of cheating. What do you think?

  6. alexa szachacz says:

    I am aware of websites and students who do pay a service to get their work done for them. I personally would never do that because I would feel guilty and I would disappoint myself. Those students are only cheating themselves.

  7. shelby mckie says:

    Queue the broken record… “if you cheat you’re only cheating yourself!” The point of being in a college course is to benefit YOU and to learn something that will help launch your success and future! If someone else completes your lessons for you then you are missing out on the benefits. As easy as it is to access ways to cheat online, it is just as easy to ask for help from friends and professors in order to understand and complete the assignments.

  8. megan havranek says:

    After reading this article I feel even though the paper is in there own words, someone else is writing it. I feel if someone else is doing your own work its a form of cheating. Using someone else work is considered cheating. Some students may receive better grades than others if someone is doing all the work for them.

  9. Maggie Bunting says:

    Prior to reading this article, I knew about this type of cheating, yet I did not know that there was a specified name for it, “contract cheating.” Students are always warned about the repercussions of plagiarism, yet the consequences of contract cheating have never been specifically mentioned in any of my classes. By the way that I see it, contract cheating falls under the wide umbrella of plagiarism.

    In the NPR article, the perspective that contract cheating is acceptable is presented, yet I do not agree with it. Although it is true that the student who paid for the service is turning in original work, it is not his or her original work. In my past courses, I have always had a mutual understanding with my professors (and I have even signed some contracts myself) that all work I turn under my name is in fact my own original work. Thinking about how these students are turning in work that they did not write yet are still taking credit for it is cheating in my mind because the student is not being fully honest.

    In the article on TheConversation, it is brought to light that there have been many cases where the students do not get the grade that they “paid for.” This brought a familiar story to mind as last year I overheard a student telling his friend about how he paid someone in a different country to write an essay. As it turned out, the student submitted the essay without double checking the work that he paid for. The essay had ended up containing countless grammar and English mistakes making it obvious that the article was not written by a native English speaker. Contract cheating is a shortcut that does not pay off the way one would ideally hope for it to.

    Contract cheating, in my opinion, is in fact cheating. I would much rather spend my 50 dollars on food, clothes, or an experience instead of for a five page paper. As society becomes more aware of contract cheating, I believe that there will be many more steps taken to stop the fad all together.

  10. emily fournier says:

    This article showed me some of the different ways people avoid doing their own work. I was not aware of the term “contract cheating” before reading this article, although I am familiar with some services, like Turnitin, that prevent plagiarism. The NPR clip also highlighted the problem of college students cheating their way through school, where the students may not even realize they are plagiarizing. I do believe that this form of cheating needs to be addressed and more clearly defined in the classroom, in order to block students from finding a loophole. Plagiarizing is unethical, yet people are still able to pay someone to write an essay for them or use another persons notes and ideas to help themselves pass a class. Although the person writing the essay may not be plagiarizing, the individual turning in the work is.
    With the capabilities of technology today, spotting plagiarism should be easy, but students just simply do not want to put in the time and effort to achieve a desired grade. I agree with the part of the NPR clip that says, “only when learning is valued more than grades will students believe that cheating on essays is only cheating themselves.” Cheating defeats the purpose of being in school to learn and meet your goals, which is why plagiarism needs to be controlled and stopped.

  11. andrea ramirez says:

    Before reading this article, I was aware of the accounts on Twitter who state that they are willing to write your essay for you. Although, I always thought they were bots trying to scam students out of money. I was not aware that there was a term for this kind of work. Contract cheating has become a widespread issue at universities because more students are willing to pay someone else to write their essay for them.

    Having someone else write your essay for you is not original content, that content belongs to the author. Students are selling themselves short by having someone else write their essay because they aren’t challenging themselves and testing their knowledge in essay format. Students who buy essays and turn them in as their own work are being dishonest and are cheating themselves.

    I believe procrastination plays a big issue in contract cheating because many students don’t allocate enough time to work on their essays and leave it for last minute. If students were taught better time management skills and learned how to juggle their workload better I believe there would be a smaller case of contract cheating. I believe that if students were to use resources such as the writing center or the tutor center, they will begin to see that they are capable of producing their own work without having to pay someone.

  12. annie leone says:

    This article provided an abundance of information on the subject of cheating that I was unaware of prior to reading this article. These are some key points that were surprising and made me think of how big the cheating epidemic is in today’s world.

    It was shocking to see that a survey showed, since 2014, around 15% of students admitted to cheating. I was not expecting to see a number that high and rising. It was also interesting to see that the true definition of contract cheating is any form of cheating where a student hires someone else to do their work for them, yet most of the time money is not even involved. The majority of cases show that contract cheating is very informal and friends “helping” friends out. Lastly, how big of a business this has created was mindblowing. The plagiarism business is worth close to 2 billion. This is a huge market all solely for the purpose of cheating. This is such a problem that even in the UK, the Education Secretary asked Google and Paypal to refuse to service contract cheating providers.

    This was very eye-opening to how much cheating has increased and the type of market and business that has risen from it as well as the easy access to cheat.

  13. carley bernstein says:

    Plagiarism is defined by dictionary.com as “the act or instance of using or closely imitating the language or thoughts of another…” After reading this article, I 100% agree that contract cheating is a form of plagiarism. Somebody else’s thoughts and connections are being passed off as your own if they were to write an essay.

    As a college student, cheating is something that is a very frightening topic. Professors in the beginning of the year go out of their way to tell personal stories of students they have had in the past and how cheating affected their future.

    Contract cheating is nothing new. We see it in the media through the bully making the “nerd” do their assignments in exchange for not bullying them. Contract cheating is much harder to put an end to because it requires you to track down the source. Turnitin.com searches the depths of the web to find if its copy and pasted. In order to stop contract cheating, it would require a way for the professor to see the student writing it. Such as in class assignments or utilizing the feature on google drive where you can see what previous users added or changed to a document.

  14. bridget ludwigsen says:

    This article opened my eyes to how prevalent cheating has become in education systems nowadays. The whole point of school is for the student to retain the information being taught and eventually apply the concepts in the real world. Being lazy will not get you far in life. Jobs hammer people on plagiarism and will fire you on the spot for it.
    This reminded me of the college admissions scandal involving Lori Loughlin and her daughter. After the scandal blew up, it amazed me the lengths people would go to cheat their way through anything. Cheating is simply unacceptable and shows how unmotivated you are to work towards meeting your goals. You would think students would catch on about what the repercussions of cheating are when there is always a section about it in syllabus’.
    Paying someone to do your work only hurts you in the end. It is also unfair to the students who actually put in the time and work to get something done. Plus, you could have spent the money on something more practical like food or clothes. Contract cheating is just a shortcut for people who want to party all the time and put in zero effort.

  15. taylor brennan says:

    Up until I read these articles I had never heard of “Contract Cheating,” I knew the concept but had never hear the term. I think these articles give examples that make the reader really think about cheating and the morals behind it.

    Growing up, we are all taught plagiarism and that you will be caught if you choose to plagiarize. As the article “How Students May Be Cheating Their Way Through College,” mentions, with new technology such as Turnitin, it will pick up on all of the small writing styles like double spacing after a period and other styles. I strongly believe that the reason why college students have a hard time understanding plagiarism is because they were never taught how to paraphrase or in text citations. I also think that all it takes is that one time for you to be spoken to about plagiarizing for students to look to contract cheating.

    I feel that in recent years there has been a new standard for college students from teachers parents and even universities, and the bar is set very high for them. Many students can achieve that goal of high expectations, however some students find it hard to keep up as the articles mentioned. I think students are afraid to be told their work is not good enough so if they find someone that can produce that for them for a small fee they will do it. Yes, I agree that our generation tends to take the easy way out and many will fall into the habit of contract cheating. But on the topic of contract cheating being right or wrong, I look at it differently than the articles. When I think of a good example of cheating, I think of art considering that it what I am passionate about. An example being: one can look at a piece of art and get inspired and go create their own piece after, but they cannot look at a piece of art, copy it and call it their own, I would consider that cheating. Yes, writing is different than art but one’s work is their own and I think to have someone else hand their name in on an essay and call it their own is wrong. I think this is an interesting topic but I feel like contract cheating will not be going away anytime soon.

  16. nicole bologna says:

    Contract cheating is totally a form of plagiarism, considering students are passing off other people’s work as their own. I definitely have heard about this type of plagiarism in the past, but I didn’t know that it was called “contract cheating”. I believe that students are 100% cheating themselves if they pay these companies to write their essays for them. The whole point of being in college is to learn, which you clearly aren’t doing if you’re not doing your work. Once in the real world these students are at a disadvantage since they have been so lazy. When I found out that the plagiarism business is worth almost $2 billion I was very surprised that it was that much. I think it’s great that websites like turnitin.com have been cracking down on plagiarism, it is definitely a solution to the cheating epidemic and prevents students from copying more work from the internet.

  17. Eva Parente says:

    Before this article, I was not aware of what “contract cheating” was and most definitely not how common it has become among students. This article helped to wake me up to the dangers of contract cheating, as well as understand why this is such a large issue in schools.

    What shocked me the most was that most people did not even pay to have someone else complete their assignment. As a student, I find it astounding that people are willing to complete other student’s assignments with no type of compensation. Not only does it take away from the cheater’s education, but also time and hard work from the person doing the writing. It affects both sides so negatively, why participate in the practice?

    Though I find contract cheating very wrong, I can’t help but think it’s a matter of personal choice. After all, the cheater is the one who gets the most hurt by this. They’re willingly stunting their own educational growth and wasting thousands of dollars in the process. As college students we are forced to take responsibility for our actions and recognize the consequences. Maybe professors, students, and bloggers alike should let them face these consequences on their own.

    I also have to agree with Darienne Bartsh’s comment. As much as we should frown upon contract cheating, we should also recognize the pressure that many college students are under to turn assignments in on time. Combine school with a job, extracurriculars, being a member of a sports team or even all three and this can put a lot of stress on a student. Choosing to have someone else write one or two assignments may pale in comparison to everything else going on in a student’s life. There are a lot of factors to consider when wondering why students are choosing to participate in contract cheating. Good and bad.

    Maybe the question isn’t why is this happening, but how can we prevent this.

  18. Haley Kueltzo says:

    Before reading this article, I was unaware of “contract cheating.” I have heard of students paying others to do their work for them, but did not know there was an exact term for it. It was interesting to me to see the one student believe that it was not plagiarism, simply because another student wrote it in their own words. I found it interesting and also it made sense to me why they thought that way. To me, they felt as though it was a loop hole to cheating all together.

    In the plagiarism.org article, I was interesting in the ghostwriting aspect mainly because a lot of celebrities use this as a way to have their speeches written for them. I do not think that there is any possible way for cheating to be gone forever. Students get stressed easily and may see it as a way out. The main concern is figuring out how to deter students from participating, maybe by offering more help during or after class as a way for them to feel confident in the work they construct.

  19. carli greco says:

    Although I’ve heard of students paying fellow peers or friends to do their homework or essays, I never knew that the term to describe those actions is called contract cheating. After reading more about it, I would definitely consider contract cheating to be a form of plagiarism because those who pay someone else to do their work are using it as if it is theirs. As a college student, I understand the stress of having a lot of work at once. However, I can’t imagine doing my work as well as someone else’s, an I think it is wrong for students to pay someone else. I believe those who contract cheat are just putting off doing their work, when they will probably need that knowledge at some point in the future. The point of going to class, especially in college, is to learn more about something you’re passionate about. I agree that this issue is not “black-and-white” because it is hard to catch students who ask their friends to write essays or do work for them. According to the article regarding contract cheating, “there is no way for the instructor to fairly evaluate the student’s knowledge and give an accurate grade.” I completely agree because college sets you up for your future, so how can you be successful without the knowledge?

  20. kristi kurek says:

    Prior to reading this article, I did know about ‘the act’ of students paying for completed assignments; however, I did not understand the full dynamic, nor that it actually has its own name called “contract cheating.”

    It is almost insane to think that some students are accepted to universities, over other students, without putting in effort. After reading this article, I see that these students should have been stopped long before they came to college. However, I distinctly remember every single course I have ever taken from 1-12th grade basing their first day of class on explaining plagiarism and what is considered plagiarism.

    When I read that a student said she is not cheating, even by paying someone to complete her work, simply because “They don’t plagiarize…they write everything on their own.” is just baffling. Contract cheating is definitely an epidemic, at this point, since we have officially moved our focus from grade school students cheating, over to adults basically trying to cheat their way through life.

  21. COM 436 says:

    Upon reading this article, I never was informed about what “contract cheating” was. I obviously was aware of the issue with plagiarism and the use of external factors for cheating among college students. However, I was unaware of how big of an issue it is. The ethics in the news article helped shed light on the problem of cheating around college campuses.

    I found the article interesting on the fact that some students do not consider it is cheating if they pay for original work. Although there is that grey area of whether or not it is cheating at the end of the day, it is not their work. Even though the person writing the essay may not care about someone else using their work, it makes it unfair for those who do their work. For a student to get a high grade for work, they did not due versus someone who has worked hard is very unfair and unethical. I think that is a big problem.

    Yes, there is the argument that there are some students who are under pressure with other obligations that result in cheating. However, that is no excuse. There are students out there that have an overbooked schedule and are full-time students and do all their work.

    I agree with the cheating contract being wrong and unethical. For a student to go out of their way to pay someone to do their work is unfair for those who do. A cheating contract doesn’t do any good to the student in the long run. It hurts that student and does not make then learn anything in the end.

  22. kayla kosubinsky says:

    Education has become something that is expected in society. It is also something that can cause a lot of stress and anxiety on a student. This is often a reason for plagiarism and cheating in schools across the country.

    Contract cheating is any kind of form of cheating where someone else does their work for them. This is usually a “favor” from one student to the other. Contract cheating is unfair to a professor for they have no way to know the students knowledge to give them a grade. By contract cheating, a student is making their own education less effective, hurting themselves in the long run.

    Plagiarism-detection companies, such as Turnitin, can detect plagiarism in students work. These companies have been widely used in schools to crack down on contract cheating, therefore making the students do their own work for credit.

    If you’re ever feeling like you’re not submitting your best work or you don’t have enough time to finish the assignment, don’t stress. A professor would much rather you ask for extended time than to plagiarize and copy someone else’s words.

  23. Lindsey May says:

    Technology has changed the way students learn and execute their work. I think contract cheating has only become more popular now because services like Turnitin are so widely used. Before it was easy for students to copy and paste information online and compile it into a paper but now there is an automatic distrust between professors and students that they aren’t capable of creating their own work. Obviously there is no other way to fact check a paper properly without using technology like Turnitin but now it has created a worse effect.
    Personally I think plagiarizing someone else’s work and contract cheating are the same, because no matter what you are using another persons work and ideas instead of your own. The whole purpose of writing a paper is for the author to write it themselves and showcase their own understanding of the topic. The only solution I can think of to help contract cheating would be to change the dynamic of the classroom. Give the option to showcase the students knowledge of the course in other ways besides papers like a presentation or video. The one article explains how it could be beneficial for a student to conduct an interview and make a podcast about it. It might be time to start showcasing students knowledge in more diverse ways than just writing a paper.

  24. paige reiss says:

    I have seen many ads and websites, as well as students, who promote writing others’ essays for a few dollars per page, however, I never knew there was a specific term for it. It amazes me that there are students who think “contract cheating” is not actually cheating for the sole reason that these websites are not plagiarizing.

    Another aspect of contract cheating that interests me is that students never know what the quality of the work will be until they receive the essay. A student might wait a few hours for the website to send them a paper, and if it is not to the quality they expected, they wasted time that they could have been writing the essay themselves up to the standards they desire.

    The reasons as to why a student would use one of these websites do not really matter. Whether it be they ran out of time or they just did not feel like doing the work, the student is not helping themselves at all. Having many different assignments due in a short period of time is a way to help improve time management skills. If a student is being lazy, they really are just hurting themselves in the end.

  25. c chanthabandith says:

    Some people don’t like to admit it, but they have most likely cheated at least once in their life or have seen others cheat. It could’ve been last month, three years ago, in high school or even in elementary school. I have seen it happen in the past where a student paid another student to write all their essays for them. Personally, I don’t like when other students cheat because they don’t deserve the grade that they are getting since it isn’t their personal work that reflects their understanding of the material in class. I have always known contract cheating was a thing, but I didn’t realize how many students do it. I would never pay for another student’s work because I don’t know the quality of their writing or how knowledgeable they are about a particular subject. Also, I believe it is a waste of money. If you are already paying a lot of money to attend school, why would you pay even more for someone else to do your work?

  26. Jordan Bobbo says:

    Education in today’s society is what people put on a high pedestal. When a student is caught cheating they can get in trouble to the extent of getting kicked out of school. With all of the stresses of college cheating has become a norm in today’s education system. Whatever a student can do get by in the classroom that person will take a course of actions that are ethically wrong. Contract cheating has become so popular because it is a “win win” situation for both parties. Say a student is having a trouble writing an essay and another student is struggling for money, both sides can benefit from cheating. Getting paid to write someone’s essay is ethically wrong, but if that person is struggling with money is it really that wrong? Technology such as turnitin can catch these cheaters as soon as the essay is submitted. This is why professors have been using turnitin so they can tell of their students have been cheating or plagiarizing. Going to class can solve this temptation of cheating. If a student can simply just go into class and take notes the chances of them understanding the topic is much higher than a student that doesn’t go to class. Contract cheating ethics can be argued with different opinions. At the end of the day getting caught cheating is ethically wrong.

  27. Anna Miller says:

    One of the biggest things that stuck out to me was the statement that it’s not cheating because they aren’t stealing work, they are just paying someone to write everything themselves. I do think it does bring up an interesting point, but at the end of the day passing someone else’s work off as your own is still cheating. However, the content being submitted technically is original, it was just not written by the person claiming to have written it. So I can see how a student looking to take an easy way out could rationalize that, saying it was a “gray area” since they didn’t plagiarize in the traditional sense. The traditional sense being stealing someone’s writing without their knowledge or consent. Still, plagiarism at its core is passing off someone else’s work off as your own. So unless these students are writing at the top of their papers “purchased and written by ___ “, then they are still cheating and lying about who created that work.

  28. Brooke Carde says:

    In my opinion, this is definitely considered plagiarism. Coming into college, students are told about the seriousness of plagiarism and how most colleges and universities have a zero-tolerance policy for it. The way that plagiarism is explained to us is basically submitting work that is not our own, not citing sources properly, or even citing sources properly but still using what a different author wrote, verbatim. So paying someone to complete an assignment for you would most definitely fall under this, and unfortunately happens far too often.

  29. Sheridan Sundstrom says:

    What I find the most interesting about the topic of “contract cheating” is that authors writing about it tend to have a tone of surprise, as it is a relatively new issue in college. As a college student, this is something I have heard students doing since I was in high school. From my perspective, this issue has just always existed, and I didn’t realize it was “new.” But I guess as I was growing up in the creation of it, it just has always been there for me. I hear about students doing this all the time, even girls in my sorority text the big group chat offering money for their assignments. It has always bothered me, but I never put that much thought into it. However, I do believe it is a topic that is very much black and white, as opposed to some. I think that if the product is not something produced by you, then it is simply stealing or plagiarizing. I don’t agree with the idea that if you are paying for it, it suddenly becomes “yours.” Going off of that, I think it is very unfortunate that the rate of this occurring among international students is significantly higher. I know many international students who have talked about this with me, and they all say they do it out of fear that they can’t write a paper as well as other students, in regards to vocabulary and grammar. It isn’t about them not knowing the subject, or having the motivation to do it. I wish there was some solution that could be made there to help them with that without isolating them. Another thought I have is in regards to ghost writing, which is the only circumstance I can think of that would be a gray area for contract cheating. I am sure that ghost writer’s names are located somewhere in the final book, but how much credit is given to them, and is it fair for the main “author” for people to be buying the book because of their name when they didn’t actually write it?

  30. Danielle Mallery says:

    Students may find contract cheating to be easy in the moment, however, it’s unbeneficial for all parties in the long run. Students that partake in contract cheating aren’t learning anything by doing so. The hundreds of thousands of dollars that they’re spending on their college education is being thrown out the window.

    Contract cheating during college will hurt them in the real world, simply because they’ll have no idea what to do in their respective field. It’s also hard for professors to fairly grade their students and assess their own teaching skills if they have students that are contract cheating. How are they supposed to differentiate who truly understands the material and who is falling behind?

    As college students, we are aware of the consequences that will follow any act of plagiarism. I think that most of the time plagiarism comes from students being stressed over topic they’re writing about. Not everyone uses the right side of their brain, which can leave a lot of room to stress about important papers.

    A way that I think a way this issue can possibly be avoided is for teachers to distribute an anonymous survey to feel out what their students do best, whether it be papers, presentations, more creative projects, etc., and try to set the class dynamic up with the survey results in mind.

  31. Madison Ouellet says:

    Academic integrity has been a prevelant issue discussed with students since the elementary level. Regardless of the information I have gained throughout the years, the concept of “contract cheating” is a new topic for me. Based upon prior knowledge and the contents of these articles, I would label contract cheating as an academic integrity infraction. In agreement with the professors perspective, any form of contract that allows a person to recieve credit for an assignment completed by another individual is plagiarism.

    From a student perspective I can understand where the arguments are coming from. Stress levels are high throughout the semester, and professors do not always consider how many courses you are enrolled in besides their own. Once the work begins to add up and due dates approach it is easy to see where these ‘excuses’ for contract cheating can appear from. While these situations are understandable, it is still unprofessional and unethical to pose someone else’s work as your own. The students who engage in contract cheating are truly putting themselves at a great disadvantage in the end.

  32. kendall sullivan says:

    Unfortunately throughout the years I have come to learn that cheating and plagiarism is far from a black and white issue. I have been met with some challenges along the way and even have had a mishap of my own with unintentional patchwork writing in my freshman year english class. Since then, I have been hyperaware of violations of the academic integrity going on around me.

    I would be lying if I said I wasn’t also aware of contract cheating. Though, I hadn’t known there was a coined phrase for it. While reading the articles, I was most surprised that only 13.2% of contract cheaters pay for the service. I would’ve expected a much higher number of students paying friends or former classmates to complete their work. Because students who cheat have adapted to services like Turnitin, they are turning in original work, though not created by them.

    Turnitin’s proposal to combat contract cheating though authorship investigation by detecting stark shifts in writing style is definitely an interesting concept. I definitely believe it could make a significant difference in the number of contact cheating instances we’re seeing today. Until then- it is up to the students to be honest with themselves, and their professors, about not only the severity of contract cheating, but it’s inherent consequences on the students learning and their grade.

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