June 5, 2018
Issue 6 2018

Students make cash by listening in class

Massey University students are being faced with the legalities and moralities of submitting their lecture notes for cash.

Students are being targeted through Instagram ads by a Dutch-based company Studocu, who offer students money to upload their university notes to their website.

Communications student, Mallory Christie, says she was offered $21.42 for a semester’s worth of lecture notes from a first year paper.

“It took me less than five minutes to create an account," she says.

"I submitted all my lecture notes from a first year marketing paper and uploaded it. 

"They offered me about $20, not bad for something that I’d already done, and would just sit on my computer anyway.”

While most lecturers at Massey University upload lecture notes and recordings via stream, the convenience of having notes already written into one document is tempting students.

Public relations student, Harrison Bellve, says he would pay between $40 and $50 to have all the notes he needed for an exam written down for him to study.  

However, students considering swapping notes for cash says it is unclear whether they will break Massey University protocol by participating in the trade.

The Massey Universities Code of Responsible Research Conduct (CRRC) declares, 'students must provide proper references and give due attribution to the work of others (where appropriate to the medium)'.

Whilst the Academic Integrity (AI) student guide on the Massey website says students must conduct themselves honestly, fairly, truthfully, ethically and responsibly in all areas of academic endeavour.

Massey University Lecturer, Dr Teresa Heinz Housel says during her time as a student she took her own notes, though asked fellow students she knew to be good students for their notes too.

“If someone was a really good student, I probably wouldn’t have a problem with purchasing their notes, I definitely used other people’s notes,” she says.

Though in her standpoint as a lecturer, Heinz Housel says it becomes an ethical problem if someone was just "blowing off the class”.

The Massey website says the purchase of assessments from a ‘paper mill or other internet site breaches university practice.

However, it is unclear to students whether the purchasing of notes rather than assessments from a ‘paper mill’ website is considered a breach.