The Quality Assurance Agency in the UK released a set of recommendations for universities and higher education providers discussing how they should be acting regarding the threat of contract cheating.
As taken straight from their press release, the guidelines recommend:
- clear information for students on the risks of cheating, including academic misconduct being reported to relevant professional bodies
- support for students to develop independent study skills, including academic writing
- using a range of assessment methods to limit opportunities for cheating
- blocking essay mill sites and taking action against essay mill advertising on campus
- smarter detection, including new software and greater familiarity with students’ personal styles and capabilities
- appropriate support for whistle blowing – to protect accuser as well as accused
- student involvement on academic misconduct policies and panels.
The media picked up on the story, particularly within the UK.
The Guardian focused particularly on the recommendation for universities to block access to essay mills, taking quotes from several people prominent in the academic integrity field, myself included.
The Telegraph went for a story before the official report release, suggesting that lecturers were working for essay mills and helping students to cheat (but evidence to support this is rather limited).
I participated in live TV and radio interviews. You can see a clip from my appearance on BBC TV here:
Universities watchdog announces clampdown on essay cheating companies: https://t.co/pU1USIov3p
Dr Thomas Lancaster explains how they work pic.twitter.com/cocsXhZiZQ
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) October 9, 2017
I also contributed articles based around different aspects of the story. You can see coverage on the Conversation and discussion on LinkedIn.
As is so often the case, it’s interesting to see how the media in India have managed to turn this into a local story. The quotes assigned to me in that piece are from me, but they’ve gone through several years of recycling. It’s interesting how they continue to find ways to make them fit!