The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published a well-written article on custom essays, authored not by the student whose name goes on it, but by someone paid to do it. The article can be found here.
A few of my favorite lines:
– “It turned out that my lazy, Xanax-snorting, Miller-swilling classmates were thrilled to pay me to write their papers.” As a student at JWU, I was often asked to assist or completely do the work for some classmates. I never sat at the computer and wrote a paper, but I can tell you that I did offer advice and I proof-read often. There was no money, but there was friendship and recognition of my intelligence. So I technically was getting something in return for walking freshmen through stuff they should have learned as high school students.
– “I work hard for a living. I’m nice to people. But I understand that in simple terms, I’m the bad guy. I see where I’m vulnerable to ethical scrutiny.” I believe that librarians can be convicted of this, as well. Any librarian who has ever worn the reference hat knows that they have given some student the answer that he or she was too lazy to find on their own. And it sucks.
And my favorite comment:
“I think that schools and even paper-writers like the author have very little blame here. If students cheat, they are left with a diploma with little practical knowledge behind it. At which point three things will happen: they will do nothing with their degree and just continue to be a useless rich person, they will get hired and fail to get promoted because they cannot do their job competently in spite of their degree, or they will get promoted based on their degree not their performance – which is the fault of the employer.” Students have been programmed to want As and Bs, not to learn. While I am someone who loves seeing that check mark, that “A”, I also want to learn something, and probably would have benefited from a school that offered learning over grading.
My own comment:
Cheating is wrong, whether you are the paying student, the writer, or the teacher/professor who looks the other way. Personal responsibility and honesty are the best policy. No go forth and be honest!