The Internet is slowly becoming a rubbish tip for junk, useless information, knitting patterns and videos of blind Scottish men being hit in the nuts with a baseball. Because nothing on the web really ever disappears, we can see into the looking glass of the past. Over the last few decades, we've accumulated a lot of content, and the amount of "immoral" websites and services available; essay writing services for university students who want to cheat, have increased. Take this made up example:
(Figures are inaccurate as they were made up for a joke. Forget it, let's move on...)
Students can spend anything as little as a few hours up to a few weeks for an average, normal essay part of their undergraduate studies. Some will have more essays than others, but they're an important part of a qualification. They show how the learner understands the knowledge they have acquired, how to reference and cite sources, as well as a discipline in writing formats. It's an art, rather than a chore; maybe that's why so many Bachelor of Arts degree qualifications have essays - art and arts.
But the other day, I received an email from CheatHouse.com, a website which "specialises in essays and papers for students". They offer a variety of ways to plug into the database, but the primary way is to pay for access, allowing you to read through and access thousands of pre-written essays and dissertations. From their about page:
"To stimulate learning. Simply. We have gotten a lot of critisism in the past, and I suspect this will continue in the future, but we are trying to build a community, where students come together."
Considering the name of the damn website is "CheatHouse", are we supposed to fall for that? Now let's face it; the chances of somebody buying a unique essay to study it and not to plagiarise it, is little-to-none. As a society, we are unfortunately not that moral.
It does, however, try to justify it on a specific page buried within the mass of links, and dodging the "encouraging cheating" question with another question; whilst creating a loophole to wiggle out of the plagiarism question. Just because the person who wrote the essay cites all the sources, references and acknowledges authors, doesn't mean someone else can hand it in as theirs. It just doesn't work like that. A dictionary definition won't detract away from what appears to be a standard policy of a university.
"So you didn't write this essay?" ... "No, but all the sources are cited and it's referenced." ... "Oh that's OK then, well done, you've got a first."
Why pick out this website? Because not only do they offer a slice of temptation cake to students, they also send out spam emails to Hotmail addresses. I just wish I hadn't deleted the email in the first place. It's not just them though; there are so many "services" out there which promote and actively support this.
Google, back in June, began to blacklist advertisements which promoted essay-writing services, which has certainly cut the number of these immoral ads from the main Google search, but for local search locales, it seems to have little effect.
Considering that a degree, or a masters or doctorate qualification enables a person to go on to very specific, specialised practices, I cannot see how the people who buy and use these essays should be let through to graduate. They surely wouldn't, except they aren't detected. The websites that provide these, especially this particular website which spam's people as well, should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.
Putting it simply, it's cheating a way into a qualification, which could be used to gain a job position or academic status. That, my friends, is fraud.
Housing essays for university students on servers, which enable them to go on to cheat an academic body into qualifying them to specialised jobs - dentistry, surgery, architecture, teaching, computer science - but evidentially aren't qualified to write essays thus graduate, it's letting the wrong'uns through.
I know, this may just seem like a rant, but this practice is making a mockery of university education, but also the electronic research processes we all use at some points. Your thoughts?