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Doing Other People's Assignments Online

Doing Other People's Assignments Online

(OP)
The business of writing other people's academic articles has been going on for quite some time. I read a book by a certain lawyer today who complained that in the 80s, some of his friends would mail the details of their projects (term papers, as they are known in some countries that don't use metric, haha) to other students/researchers in Europe, US, etc., and send them money via Western Union to have them done for them. His friends would then enjoy the rest of their semester stress-free, while he had to go to the uni library and do lots of work.

Fast-forward a few decades, and today, the case is quite a bit different. From what I've heard, more and more students, "researchers", etc., in the west are sending their projects to people in other parts of the world to do their work for them. You could say that academic research is being outsourced. It's actually cheaper, because a writer from, say, Kenya or India, can underbid a writer from the US since 10$ goes a longer way in their country. Almost all the writers I know of/have heard of are in higher education, or have just recently graduated and are still tarmacking (job-hunting), so to them, academic writing is a side-hustle. Although I do have a former classmate who paid his school fees, bought his own car, and is building a farm, I hear, all from being paid for these jobs.

It's way easier too, nowadays. Instead of Postal Mail that might take weeks, you have email that takes seconds. Instead of Western Union, you have services Paypal, MPesa, mVisa, various escrow services, etc. Some of these services send the money straight to your phone. Instead of browsing a directory looking for people/companies that can write for you, you have sites like upwork, etc., that quickly connect you to them.

I've never wanted to do academic writing jobs for others online, because I've always felt like it's just dishonest. To be honest, I don't think I ever will, but I'd like to know:
1. What do you guys think of term papers being outsourced in this way, from an ethical standpoint?
2. Do the people who use these websites know the kind of people doing their work for them? The questions to be written on have varying levels of difficulty. Some are easy, others are hard, and I'm sure that there are people competent enough to do proper research on the hard ones. But, some are just plain incompetent, and I can't help but wonder at the quality of the work being handed in. Just the other day, a classmate of mine whose proficiency in MS Word goes as far as the keyboard and the save button came to me asking him to help him write a paper on the benefits of Outlook. Then, I know someone who studied accounting in school, who was given a job related to power plant efficiency.
3. Do they also know that there's a blackmarket for the most highly ranked accounts on these sites? Your visibility on these sites depends on how many articles you've written, plus other factors like your previous "employers'" ratings of your work, etc. But, these accounts sell like crazy, because if you sign up the proper way, it'll be a long time till you get any work.
4. Do professors know when their students submit outsourced work?

Which way, engineering?

Some references:
1. https://www.elance.com/trends/talent-available/geo
2. http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2015/12/freela... (from 2015, outdated)
3. The list on http://www.biasharainsight.com/2016/01/list-academ... outlines some popular academic writing websites.

........................................
The EAC - One People, One Destiny... One Federation.

RE: Doing Other People's Assignments Online

The practice of paying other people to perform work which you then claim as your own is, in my opinion, nothing less than disgusting.

RE: Doing Other People's Assignments Online

Call it what you will, but "outsourcing" is a nicer way of saying "plagiarism".....absolutely unethical. Seems like a no brainer to me. I would love to hear how someone would rationalize this practice.

RE: Doing Other People's Assignments Online

Sounds like one of those "career-limiting" ethics violations for both the writer and plagiarizer, particularly if they work in academia.

RE: Doing Other People's Assignments Online

It's called 'subcontracting'.

RE: Doing Other People's Assignments Online

I think a student that pays someone else to do their work for them is cheating. They are cheating themselves and their institution.

Ghostwriting is a fascinating practice, and I think it is okay if there is no true reason for someone to produce a work themselves. An professional academic using a ghostwriter would be unethical, but a fiction author could use them until the cows came home and I wouldn't care as long as the ghostwriter was good at reproducing the original author's style.

RE: Doing Other People's Assignments Online

We had a small problem in 'channel flow' back in 3 or 4 year... The problem was so trivial, it didn't warrant solving it. I photocopied Vic's solution, crossed off his name and wrote mine (obvious contemptuous copy, no pretense) and submitted it... we both got full marks...

Dik

RE: Doing Other People's Assignments Online

That kind of thing is dishonest. Your work is expected to be your work.

When I was going through college, a group of students copied lab work from students' from the previous semester. They were sloppy and failed to change some critical things so the prof recognized whose lab work they had copied. He flunked them all and partly because they were too stupid to change the lab work prior to submittal.

I suspect most professors wouldn't be able to identify outsourced with if the students used the same writers consistently. There would be no original work to compare against. Some very savvy profs may be able to discern ability through examination and thought processes exhibited solving problems on exams and homework.

I knew some students that didn't know how to program their calculators correctly and the programs weren't to be used on exams anyway. Needless to say, they failed that exam and were found out. It didn't go well.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: Doing Other People's Assignments Online

It was my work... I photocopied it... There was no pretense that it was mine.

Dik

RE: Doing Other People's Assignments Online

"The problem was so trivial, it didn't warrant solving it"

That will apply to many things in professional life; it's good to know that it's acceptable to simply not bother.

RE: Doing Other People's Assignments Online

'Trivial" - A bud of mine worked for a mining company and was called upon to solve a problem where a shaft was bent under the lifting load. So he took out his references and went through the process of calculating the stress and recommended an increased diameter. When he presented it he was told that it was quaint for him to do this, but the correct solution was to double the shaft diameter, about 60% larger than his calculations showed. They said it wasn't worth the time to analyze. He noted they had a point. Double the diameter a few times and there's no question the shaft will be sturdy enough. He did wonder why they hired engineers when they chose not to use them.

Good-news or bad, sometimes it is worth while to identify those cases where a detailed analysis is useful and others where there are enough unknowns that a less detailed approach is sufficient.

RE: Doing Other People's Assignments Online

dik, to clear up any confusion, my post was not directed at you but the OP.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

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