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Multilingual Essay Mills: Understanding Contract Cheating among Second Language Learners

Date & Time:
February 15, 2019 | 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
CHD 420
Sarah Eaton and Roswita Dressler (Werklund School of Education)

“Contract cheating”, a term coined by UK researchers Clarke and Lancaster (2006) happens when students have a third party complete academic work on their behalf. It includes, but it not limited to essay mills and homework completion services. Suppliers of this form of “black market” academic work exist mainly online. Students can simply upload a digital copy of their assignment instructions to a website, insert a delivery date and pay for the work by credit card. Contract cheating is big business. Owings and Nelson (2014) found the essay mill industry in the United States alone to be valued at a minimum $100 million USD. Estimates show that over 71,000 post-secondary students in Canada buy academic work online (Eaton, 2018). There is growing evidence to suggest that contract cheating is not limited to academic work completed in English, but also in a variety of world languages.

In this workshop, you will learn more about what contract cheating is, how it happens, and how second language learners can order homework tasks, essays and even theses from online providers, customized to the exact instructions of an assignment. We will discuss strategies for prevention and detection, along with an examination of what to do if you suspect a case of contract cheating among your students.