A Systems Approach to Address Contract Cheating

September 24, 2020

I’m delighted to be giving a presentation today at the the 8th Congress on Academic Integrity organized by the Center for Academic Integrity, University of Monterrey (UDEM), Monterrey, Mexico.

Slide1

Abstract

In this presentation I examine how a systems approach is needed to address contract cheating in its various forms. Using the 4M framework, I demonstrate the role of the individual (micro), the department (meso), the learning organization (macro) and stakeholders beyond the institution (mega).

In this session, I share insights from my forthcoming book, Plagiarism in Higher Education: Tackling Tough Topics in Academic Integrity to be published by ABC Clio/Libraries Unlimited in 2021.

Keywords: academic integrity, academic misconduct, contract cheating, 4M Framework, SoTL

You can find a complete English-language slide deck and the script for the talk archived online here: http://hdl.handle.net/1880/112560

Integridad Académica: Un enfoque de sistemas para enfrentar la compraventa de trabajo académico1
8.° Congreso de Integridad Académica

En esta presentación Eaton examina cómo y por qué se requiere de un enfoque de sistemas para abordar la compraventa de trabajo académico.

Utilizando el marco de referencia de las 4M, Eaton muestra el rol de la persona (micro), el departamento (meso), la institución y la comunidad (mega).

Palabras clave: integridad académica, mala conducta académica, marco de referencia de las 4M, Investigación en Docencia y Aprendizaje (IDA / SoTL)

Se encuentra las diapositivas y todo el contenido de esta presentación aquí:  http://hdl.handle.net/1880/112565

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary.


¿Cómo se dice “contract cheating”? Exploring Academic Integrity Terminology in Spanish-speaking contexts

September 15, 2020

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by: Sarah Elaine Eaton and Beatriz Moya Figueroa

Abstract

In this brief report we explore linguistic differences in how contract cheating has been explained and translated into Spanish.

Keywords: academic integrity, academic misconduct, terminology, contract cheating

Palabras clave: integridad académica, mala conducta académica, terminología

Overview

Academic integrity is a concern across the world. Contract cheating, which is the outsourcing of academic work to third parties is a growing problem. We know that contract cheating happens in a multitude of languages, including Spanish (Eaton & Dressler, 2019). In order to address a problem, we must first have a common language to talk about it. The term “contract cheating” was coined by Clarke and Lancaster (2006), as a more updated way and comprehensive term to address academic outsourcing in text-based as well as non-text-based disciples. “Contract cheating” is now preferred over “essay mill” or “term paper mills”, though all of these terms remain in use in various contexts.

In this brief report we explore linguistic differences in how contract cheating has been explained and translated into Spanish.

ENAI Glossary: A Starting Point

We acknowledge and applaud the work done by the European Network for Academic Integrity (ENAI) (n.d.) to produce a multilingual glossary of terms relating to academic integrity. The glossary is available in ten languages; but currently, Spanish is not one of them. We consulted the glossary in the closest language, Portuguese, (see Taúginienė et al., 2019) and found contract cheating referenced as, “fraude no contrato” (p. 23), explained as, “Forma de má conduta que existe quando uma pessoa utiliza uma entidade terceira para a assistir a produzir trabalho, independentemente de envolver um pagamento ou favor” (p. 23).

Although the accompanying explanation describes contract cheating well, to translate “fraude no contrato” (Portuguese) into Spanish would result in “el fraude de contrato”, the meaning of which could be misconstrued as contractual fraud in a legal sense, rather than an academic one. For this reason, we contend that “el fraude de contrato” is not an appropriate translation of the English term, “contract cheating”.

In Search of a Spanish Translation

Having eliminated that possibility, we continued our inquiry, but we found no standardized translation of the term. Instead, we encountered a variety of phrases used in the literature. Some examples of translations we found include:

  • realización por parte de un tercero de trabajos escritos” (Gómez Córdoba & Pinto Bustamante, 2017, p. 170)

Gómez Córdoba & Pinto Bustamante (2017) self-identified in their paper as being in Columbia.

  • “comprar ensayos finales (u otros ensayos) en agencias específicas o de otros estudiantes” (Denisova-Schmidt, 2016, p. 6)

Denisova-Schmidt (2016) self-identified as working in Switzerland.

  • La “compraventa de trabajos académicos” (Comas, Sureda, Casero, & Morey, 2011, p. 209)

These researchers self-identified as being in Spain.

  • La “compra de textos” (Armesto, 2016, p. 6)

A review of the front matter of the publication in which Armesto’s article was published showed she works in Mexico.

We found the term used by Comas et al. (2011), “compraventa de trabajos académicos” to be the closest translation to the English phrase contract cheating if one is speaking about the commercial industry, including aspects of both buying and selling. However, we acknowledge that the term “compraventa de trabajos académicos” excludes those who complete academic work on behalf of others who do not receive payment (e.g. family members, partners, friends, etc.).

To convey the idea that a third party who is not part of the commercial cheating industry is completing work on behalf of a student, the phrase used by Gómez Córdoba & Pinto Bustamante (2017), “realización por parte de un tercero de trabajos escritos” might be more accurate. However, we point out that this phrase specifically addresses text-based disciplines and excludes fields where the academic work produced does not necessarily include prose writing, including computer code.

We do not claim that our search was exhaustive. We have highlighted particular examples from the extant literature to illustrate the inconsistency in how contract cheating is discussed in scholarship written in the Spanish language.

Conclusion: Call to Action

In order to effectively address a problem, we must first be able to name it; to talk about it in ways that others will understand. Only then can we, as community of educators, advocates, and scholars, be as unified in our actions against the problem as we are in the way we talk about it. Therefore, we conclude with a call to action to our colleagues across the Spanish-speaking world to produce a Spanish-language glossary for academic integrity that includes a precise phrase to convey contract cheating that can be used with confidence as a common term.

References

Armesto, G. (2016). El plagio académico: ¿Qué es y cómo distinguirlo? Revista de integridad académica, 1(1), 5-7.

Clarke, R., & Lancaster, T. (2006). Eliminating the successor to plagiarism: Identifying the usage of contract cheating sites. Paper presented at the Second International Plagiarism Conference, The Sage Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom.

Comas, R., Sureda, J., Casero, A., & Morey, M. (2011). La integridad académica entre el alumnado universitario español. Estudios Pedagógicos, 37(1), 2007-2225.

Denisova-Schmidt, E. (2016). El desafío global de la integridad académica. International Higher Education (Spanish edition), 87, 5-7. Retrieved from http://ceppe.uc.cl/images/stories/recursos/ihe/Numeros/87/art_03.pdf

Eaton, S. E., & Dressler, R. (2019). Multilingual essay mills: Implications for second language teaching and learning. Notos, 14(2), 4-14. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1880/110695

European Network for Academic Integrity (ENAI). (n.d.). Glossary. Retrieved from http://www.academicintegrity.eu/wp/glossary/

Gómez Córdoba, A., & Pinto Bustamante, B. (2017). La integridad académica: el dilema de la formación médica / Academic integrity: The dilemma of medical education. Revista Educación y Desarrollo Social, 11(2). doi:org/10/18359/reds.3248

Taúginienė, L, Gaižaúskaitė, I, Glendinning, I, Kravjar, J, Ojsteršek, M, Ribeiro, L, Odiņeca, T, Marino, F, Cosentino, M, Sivasubramaniam, S. Glossary for Academic Integrity (Portuguese). ENAI Report 3G [online]. Tradução de: Malaquias, A, Fachada, B, Ribeiro, L. 2019. http://www.academicintegrity.eu/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Glossary_PT.pdf

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Note: This post is a re-print of our short paper. Here is how to cite this content:

Eaton, S. E., & Moya Figueroa, B. (2020). ¿Cómo se dice “contract cheating”?: Exploring academic integrity terminology in Spanish-speaking contexts. University of Calgary. http://hdl.handle.net/1880/112526

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary.


CFP: Degrees of Deceit – Impact of Counterfeit Credentials and Admissions Fraud

September 9, 2020

CFP

Call for chapter proposals

Editors: Sarah Elaine Eaton (University of Calgary, Canada) and Jamie Carmichael (Carleton University, Canada)

Fraudulent credentials have existed since the days of hand-scribed parchments. However, in recent years, scandals such as Operation Varsity Blues in 2019 and 2020 in the United States have drawn renewed attention to the topic of fake credentials, university admissions fraud, and diploma mills. The issue of fraudulent credentials is a global one, and there are no academic disciplines or professions that are immune to the problem.

The Internet has made it even easier for individuals to obtain fraudulent credentials online in a matter of minutes. The platform economy that underpins this nefarious activity churns out both the good and the ugly. However, it is predicted that the ugly will diminish as technical tools become more accessible and easier to manipulate. Therefore, it can be challenging for college admissions staff to spot fake credentials given the changing landscape, particularly during admissions season, when workloads surge and demands to meet deadlines to process admissions applications are unrelenting.

The purpose of this book is to analyze the issue of fraudulent credentials and their impact on higher education admissions, as well as in professional and industry contexts. This volume offers a scholarly examination and discussion of the issues. Evidence-based submissions are also welcomed by higher education professionals and practitioners. We welcome a variety of contributions from case studies to preferred practices, historical inquiries, empirical studies, literature reviews, and conceptual papers. Chapters will include substantive references to credible sources.

Topics:

  • History of credential fraud: Chapters delve into this history of credential fraud, during ancient times, as well as modern times.
  • Admissions fraud in higher education: Chapters focus on issues particular to admissions fraud in higher education, including admissions test fraud and other fraudulent activities related to admissions fraud, including: transcripts, reference letters, and previous educational credentials.
  • Credential forgery: Chapters on this topic explore forged credentials (i.e., fake diplomas, degrees, and transcripts) from legitimate and reputable educational institutions.
  • Diploma mills: Chapters on this topic investigate low-quality for-profit colleges and universities, as well as business selling credentials from institutions that do not actually exist.
  • Impact on industry and the professions: Chapters on this topic address the impact of credential fraud in professional contexts and industry.
  • Introduction of technology to circumvent credential fraud: Chapters on this topic examine how technology can be employed to thwart the risk of credential fraud. This topic can span the spectrum of data protection, and the use of technologies like blockchain, to computer vision, which has the potential to detect “fake” documents or outliers.

 Contributor guidelines:

If you are interested in submitting a book chapter, send a 500-word proposal in Word format by November 1, 2020.

Chapter proposals should clearly indicate:

  • Proposed title
  • Purpose statement
  • Methodology or submission type (i.e., empirical research, historical inquiry, literature review, etc.)
  • Overview of topic(s) to be addressed
  • Originality and significance of the work
  • Reference list (APA 7th edition) (Minimum of 3 references)
  • Full contributor information (name, institution, e-mail, phone, address, ORCid) and brief bio (~50 words)

Proposals will be reviewed for suitability using the following criteria:

  • Substance and quality of the proposal, including the proposed source material (i.e., references)
  • English language proficiency
  • Clarity and feasibility
  • Alignment with the proposed chapter topics
  • Note that chapters with excessive self-citations will not be favourably received.

Decisions on chapter proposals will be made by February 1, 2021.

Full chapters are to be 5000-8000 words, including abstract and references (APA, 7th ed.). Chapter drafts will undergo rigorous peer review. Deadline for full chapters is June 1, 2021.

Submit your proposal in Word format to:

  • seaton (at) ucalgary.ca
  • Jamie.carmichael (at) carleton.ca

About the editors

Sarah Elaine EatonSarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Education at the University of Calgary, Canada, where she also serves as the inaugural Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity. Eaton’s research focuses on academic ethics in higher education. Her work can be found in the British Educational Research Journal, Journal of Academic Ethics, the Journal of Educational Thought and Interchange, among other places. She is the co-Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal for Educational Integrity (Springer Nature) and co-founder and co-editor of Canadian Perspectives on Academic Integrity. In 2020 she received the Research and Scholarship award from the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education (CSSHE) for her contributions to research on academic integrity in Canadian higher education.

Her previous books include: Women Negotiating Life in the Academy (Eaton & Burns, Eds., Springer, 2020); Academic Integrity in Canada (Eaton & Christensen Hughes, Eds, Springer, 2021) and Plagiarism in Higher Education: Tackling Tough Topics in Academic Integrity (ABC Clio / Libraries Unlimited, 2021).

Jamie Carmichael, Carleton University, Ottawa, CanadaJamie Carmichael is the Associate Registrar of Scheduling and Systems at Carleton University. She is accountable for the construction of the university timetable, scheduling and administration of formally scheduled examinations, the operation of two examination centres for students with disabilities, a university-wide space management system, implementation and maintenance of core student administrative systems (from the audit to CRM), and production of the graduate and undergraduate calendars. Since 2009, she has received eight service excellence nominations for her work that range from information technology projects (i.e., timetabling data collection utility tool to secure exam upload system), team acknowledgement to innovation.

Carmichael is completing her Masters in Applied Science candidate in Technology Information Management (Engineering) and her research area is contract cheating and machine learning. She has presented or co-presented her work at the International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM) conference (2019) and the International Center for Academic Integrity annual conference (2020).

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary.

This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary.


Scholarships Without Scruples: 3 Signs of Bogus Scholarships and Scams

September 4, 2020

In 2019 Operation Varsity Blues shed light on organized admissions fraud in the United States. Although that scandal focused on the American context, the problem of counterfeit credentials, fake degrees, and other kinds of academic fraud is a global issue.

My colleague, Jamie Carmichael, from Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada), and I have begun some systematic inquiry into these topics. Among them, the issue of scholarship scams has come up repeatedly. We wanted to share some telltale signs of bogus scholarships we have found as part of our work.

Signs of a Scholarship Scam

#1 Credit card required

Legitimate scholarships do not require students, parents, or anyone else to submit credit card information as part of an application. If an application requires you to include this information, it might not be a legitimate scholarship at all.

#2 Discount in disguise

We have found an increasing number of so-called scholarships offered by businesses that are merely a discount for their services. In order to receive the alleged scholarship, students must purchase products or services (e.g., editing of academic work) in order to be eligible for the funds (a.k.a. discount).

Legitimate scholarships do not require students to pay for goods or services in order to receive the funding.

#3 Tax Trickery

In many countries, including Canada, legitimate scholarships and bursaries fall under different tax regulations than earned income. Canadian citizens and permanent residents can find out more on the Canada Revenue Agency website. If the organization awarding the so-called scholarship cannot or will not issue you tax documentation that follows federal taxation requirements, it is likely not a scholarship at all.

Scholarships without scruples: 3 signs of scholarship scams

We are finding increasing evidence of aggressive marketing from organizations promoting various kinds of scholarship scams. This includes sending direct e-mails to students, professors, and university administrators proclaiming how their “opportunity” (i.e., scam) benefits students.

If you are unsure about whether a funding offering might be legitimate or not, consult with an academic advisor at your school.

If you are a faculty member or administrator, ensure that you have checked the credibility of any organization asking you to promote alleged scholarships on their behalf.

The old adage applies: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Want to learn more about admissions fraud, fake degrees, fraudulent credentials and scholarship scams? Join Jamie Carmichael and me for our upcoming webinar, “Degrees of Deceit” scheduled for 11 September 2020.

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary.

This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary.


Back to School with Integrity: Getting our Priorities Straight

August 28, 2020

This morning I did a keynote address for Humber College (Ontario, Canada) for their Faculty Ed-Venture Days offered through their teaching and learning centre. One of the slides that resonated most with participants was around getting our priorities straight as we head back to classes for a new school year in the ongoing global pandemic. Here’s what I shared:

3 prioritiesBack to school with integrity - 2020-08-28

#1: Prioritize compassion over content.

When possible let’s back off on overwhelming students with more content than they can handle. There have been repeated stories from academics, educators, and students that our ability to focus, process content and “produce” has diminished during the pandemic. Of course, there’s not much “hard data” that has been collected on this yet, but there are enough repeated stories to know that we (as in, humans) are coping with new stresses, and often multiple and competing stressors at once. So, students may simply not have the capacity to process the same volume of content as they did last year. That’s nobody’s fault; that’s just how is. So given the choice between cramming in more content, and being compassionate with the amount we expect them to reasonably learn, let’s err on the side of compassion.

#2: Prioritize decency and dignity over deadlines.

I have been teaching for more than 25 years; and I used to be the most militant person you’ve every met when it came to deadlines. Through my work in academic integrity I’ve learned that students can be at a higher risk for engaging in misconduct when they are under tight deadlines. So now, if students ask me for an extension, I give it to them (within reason, and within the boundaries of the administrative requirements of when I have to submit grades.)

I don’t make students beg for an extension. I don’t make them tell me their life story. I trust that if they are asking for an extension, then they need it. I aim to let them keep their dignity by not forcing or coercing them to tell me their life story.

#3: Prioritize pedagogy over punitive action.

There will be breaches of academic integrity, but before we get to that point, let’s do everything we can to educate students. That means teaching them everything from time management skills, to how to plan out their assignments, to learning skills like citing, referencing, paraphrasing, and whatever else they need.

We became educators because we believe in pedagogy, rather than policing, so let’s do whatever we can to ensure students are learning.

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This blog has had over 2 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, and the Educational Leader in Residence, Academic Integrity, University of Calgary, Canada. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the University of Calgary.


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