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.”