Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The New Age of Cheating

Gone are those old excuses of hungry dogs, dead relatives, and being deathly ill....
Now The Chronicle comes out with a new excuse, "My paper was stolen by an essay mill!"

I was working with a professor earlier this week, and she asked me if I felt plagiarism was a problem. I said 'most definitely'. Every professor should be, at least, running a sample of student papers through 'Turnitin' on every assignment. I personally prefer to have students do it themselves, as I see it as a 'teachable moment'. This professor was shocked when I said I had found the complete assignment for another professor and course on the web, for free. (I didn't mention that there were half a dozen other assignments for about $20 through the various cheat houses like Echeat, Fratfiles, and CheatHouse)

Professors need to be aware of these easy options to students and combat it by taking time to build more unique and personalized assignments. Curt Bonk's books have a number of great resources on this idea. MBA students should have personal experiences to draw on for papers, and be required to include those specialized bits of information not covered in a general, off-the-shelf essay.

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