UK tech students farm out coursework to India

UK tech students farm out coursework to India

Summary: Academics at Birmingham City University have warned that IT students are hiring coders in India to complete their coursework for as little as £5

TOPICS: Tech Industry

UK IT students are hiring coders in India to complete their coursework for as little as £5 a go.

A-Level and university pupils are logging onto computer-coding websites and farming out their work to foreign IT graduates.

Academics at Birmingham City University have detected 1,000 students cheating worldwide since they began monitoring the websites in 2004.

The majority of these students are studying an IT-related course and about one third are based in the UK.

Students contract their work to the lowest bidder, with prices ranging from £5 for simple undergraduate coursework to £100 for postgraduate dissertations.

Birmingham City University computing lecturer Thomas Lancaster said the practice is spreading as more websites spring up, particularly in India and Romania, and that the trend could be more prevalent than thought, as it is very difficult to detect.

Lancaster and fellow Birmingham City University lecturer Robert Clarke are calling on the government to set up a national database of university assignments so they can be matched against contract requests on coding websites and traced back to students.

Lancaster said: "We have seen examples of whole final-year dissertations being contracted out and submitted in stages to match when the work needs to be handed in."

"The problem is definitely getting worse. It is hard to detect. The number of these sites is spreading all the time and it is impossible for us to monitor all of them," he said.

He added: "It is impossible to stop these sites being used, but the academic community has to be more vigilant about the work being handed in."

Lancaster and Clarke want academics to test whether students have detailed knowledge about their work by questioning them about work they have handed in.

Topic: Tech Industry


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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  • buying in coding skills

    Why do these academics need to government to set up a site? Can they not do it at least for their own University ? - if not I know some Indian guys who can knock out a site !!
    Seriously though I wonder who would have the will or manpower to check all these assignments against the myriad of coding site available? and then tying it back to an individual with (I would guess) a hotmail style address.
    If I was one of the guys offering these services I'd welcome a site that told me what was coming up and get my guys creating 40 differing versions of the code ready to go on demand.
    I recall some years ago software that tested the consistency of Shakespeare work to see what he might not have written. Could the university not run a scheme where the students all have to create an module of code under controlled circumstances and use this as the learning seed of the remaining assignments to check for likely hood of cheating. Sounds like a good research project to me!
  • Another reason why IT degrees are becoming less and less relevant

    More and more employers are becoming more savvy about who they hire. Just having a degree in the industry doesn't (and shouldn't) count for as much as it used to.

    Know experience/portfolio of past work (especially in webdevelopment) and a clear understanding of best practices and knowledge in interviews is more important in weeding out the good on paper and from the good in practice.

    I just wonder how much of it goes on in the real world where developers could just as easily take on jobs their are not competent/skilled enough to do and wing it by outsourcing more difficult assignments.