The industry built around academic plagiarism

“Ed Dante”  earns $66,000/year writing other people’s papers for them. He works for an online firm that receives requests, charges large fees, and writes papers for students.  [Yes, these do exist.] Essays for English classes, reports for history courses, business proposals, even graduate theses in any number of subjects.  You name it.  Mr. Dante (no doubt a pseudonym) chronicled the nature of his rather shameless employment in a (not surprisingly) well-written, sometimes humorous, and thoroughly devastating article published in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  An excerpt:

In the past year, I’ve written roughly 5,000 pages of scholarly literature, most on very tight deadlines. But you won’t find my name on a single paper.

The entire article is framed around Dante’s interaction with a particular (desperate) client. But we also learn how Dante got into the “business” of plagiarism. It’s very sobering stuff. It’s imperative that educators encourage students to understand that the academic process is about learning, it is not about getting grades (though we have to give them, and they ought not to be inflated). Grades are to be the objective, external measure of mastery, the byproduct of preparation.  John Wooden used to tell his basketball players, “Success is the byproduct of preparation.”  It was never about winning for Wooden, it was about practicing, growing, learning, the development of excellence. So it must be for us in the classroom, particularly if we’re Christians seeking to live, teach, and train others to live coram Deo, before the face of God.
This is such a crucial issue that I devote a fair amount of space to it in Thriving at College.

HT: Owen Strachan

2 Responses to “The industry built around academic plagiarism”

  1. Nick Kennicott May 15, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    Thanks for sharing, Alex. You’re not considering a career change, are you?! As a professor, I’m interested to hear your thoughts about his conclusion, namely that the university system is largely to blame for cheaters. Obviously, individual heart issues/sin is the issue here, but is there any reasonable validity to his claim?

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