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To Cheat or Not to Cheat...?

So, I got a message from a client on the freelance website that I was listed on, and he asked if I could write an essay for him. The italicized question below was what the essay was supposed to be about, and he sent me three resources to reference. This was my response to him.

"I was going to say yes, until I read this paragraph in your first listed resource above:

'Should it matter if the student has not put things in his or her own words? After all, a question has been asked, and if an answer has been found, how much does it matter whether it has been copied out of a book? Probably quite a lot, actually. But we could at least start to think about this question. Or we could abolish coursework, and go back entirely to sit-down examinations. A retrograde step, some would say, but it would put the essay mills out of business, and that would be very satisfying indeed.'

This makes a lot of sense to me. And that is what this site has become -- an essay mill. I can't in good conscience do homework for people. You don't learn anything that way. I didn't realize that was what you needed on the first assignments I did for you. I am sorry. I understand that you will probably review me poorly for that stand, but I just can't do it and call myself a responsible writer. I am sure you will find someone else who will."

I decided to close my account on the website after writing it. While doing the work for somebody doesn't necessarily mean plagiarism, it is still cheating in my book. I did accidentally do a couple of computer essays for this kid before I realized what he wanted, but I had been turning him down since.

It is amazing how much of the work-for-hire on the site is homework. It makes me curious as to how much these students are getting out of their educations. Will they be able to function in the jobs that they go on to fill after obtaining degrees that other folks have done most of the work on? Yeah, that is a convoluted sentence, but I am bemused at the moment and writing from the top of my head...

Interested in other people's thoughts on this...am I too high-minded?

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April 2011


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