Students warned not to fall into ghost writing trap

in the school

By Taryn Dryfhout

Ghost writing services being offered on various Massey Facebook pages may pose a risk to students and their academic standing within the university.

Online ghost writing companies such as ‘All Assignment Assistance’ are advertising their services on social media, offering to provide full written work from small essays through to PhD dissertations, for a fee.

While universities have been struggling for years with the problem of plagiarism, online writing services such as these mean that students can now pay their way through university, bypassing much of the written work from undergrad through to PhD level.

With agencies like this now advertising on the Massey Facebook network, students must tread carefully, President of Massey Extramural Students’ Association (EXMSS), David McNab says.

Students might think using a service like this wouldn’t be considered plagiarism because the work is original, but that’s not the case.

Many of the ghost writing services on offer even come with a ‘Turnitin guarantee’, so that you can submit without fear of plagiarism.

However, submitting work that is not your own is considered cheating, and is a form of academic misconduct that can have serious repercussions from grade deductions through to expulsion.

McNab,points out that services such as these also damages the value of a degree itself.

“If it becomes widely known that people can cut corners and cheat their way through their studies, it throws doubt on the value of all degrees, present and past,” he says.

“It sends a message that a graduate may or may not have earned their qualification, and cheapens the 2500-3000 hours of effort people have put into their degrees.

“Unless we can hunt down these facilitators of academic fraud, and have them sentenced under Section 240 of the Crimes Act, then we will need a whole new model of assessment to replace the long unsupervised assignment, which has been the workhorse of university assessment, but which is becoming ever easier to pass via PayPal rather than through hard research, analysis and writing.”



1 Comment on Students warned not to fall into ghost writing trap

  1. I will also add here that literary fingerprinting software will, in the near future, be able to detect if any given piece of writing actually came from the person claiming to have written it, or someone else. It’s all but inevitable that TurnItIn will deploy this software at some stage and run it on all the past assignments in its database.

    This means that students who have been using ghost writers will very likely, at some point in the future, face the devastating prospect of having their degrees revoked, having their names made public as academic frauds, and even facing criminal prosecution.

    Think of it as like athletic drug cheats. One may use an unknown masking agent to cover up the use of performance enhancing drugs, and get a clear drug test. However, test samples are kept for 10 years, and a future test will almost certainly identify the use of such an agent, and identify one as having cheated.

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