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The Online Industry of Paper Mills, Contract Cheating Services, and Auction Sites

Hersey, Corinne and LANCASTER, Thomas (2015) The Online Industry of Paper Mills, Contract Cheating Services, and Auction Sites. In: Clute Institute International Education Conference.

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Abstract or description

This paper investigates the online collection of companies of essay mills, contract cheating services, and auction sites (herein referred to as the Industry) that enable students to cheat in their written assignments. These companies offer to help students by connecting them through secure sites to pre-written papers or commissioned and contracted writers. As well as selling original papers, these companies afford further academic misconduct such as writing exams, preparing presentations, or completing full courses for students. Plagiarism, cheating and other forms of academic misconduct continue to be discouraged throughout post-secondary education, however, these companies are working against the sector encouraging these practices. Such cheating is often a company’s raison d'être. The paper argues that the Industry can be seen to sanction plagiarism and cheating. It accomplishes this by leaning heavily on, but reframing, mainstream and dominant neoliberal market-economy discourse that universities use to seek out, market to, recruit, and retain students, in other words, mirroring education discourse. The Industry is able to market to students by sympathizing with many of the challenges they face in a contemporary education system such as climbing debt, being unprepared for university-level work, their fierce competition of getting good grades, and the worry of being professionally employed when they graduate.

The paper reviews the motivation behind the essay mill and contract cheating Industry, as identified in current literature. An initial taxonomy of terminology useful to a researcher in this area is provided. Cheating by students is considered under a neoliberalist conceptual framework, where the Industry is repositioning students from independent thinkers to people simply needing to acquire a qualification to enter a career. Three research questions are identified, intended to guide further work within this area of concern. The paper concludes by providing initial thoughts on critical theory and methodology that will allow the three research questions to be investigated.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Contract cheating, paper mills, auction sites, cheating, plagiarism, academic misconduct
Faculty: School of Computing and Digital Technologies > Computing
Event Title: Clute Institute International Education Conference
Depositing User: Thomas LANCASTER
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2017 13:15
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:48

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