September 4th, 2016
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
On any given day, thousands of students go online seeking academic relief. They are first-years and transfers overwhelmed by the curriculum, international students with poor English skills, lazy undergrads with easy access to a credit card. They are nurses, teachers, and government workers too busy to pursue the advanced degrees they’ve decided they need.
The Chronicle spoke with people who run cheating companies and those who do the cheating. The demand has been around for decades. But the industry is in rapid transition.
Just as higher education is changing, embracing a revolution in online learning, the cheating business is transforming as well, finding new and more insidious ways to undermine academic integrity.
A decade ago, cheating consisted largely of students’ buying papers off the internet. That’s still where much of the money is. But in recent years, a new underground economy has emerged, offering any academic service a student could want. Now it’s not just a paper or one-off assignment. It’s the quiz next week, the assignment after that, the answers served up on the final. Increasingly, it’s the whole class. And if students are paying someone to take one course, what’s stopping them from buying their entire degree?
The whole-class market is maturing fast. More than a dozen websites now specialize in taking entire online courses, including BoostMyGrade.com, OnlineClassHelp.com, and TakeYourClass.com. One of them, NoNeedtoStudy.com, advertises that it has completed courses for more than 11,000 students at such colleges as Duke, Michigan State, even Harvard.