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December 3, 2010 / conceptbin

Paper Mills, Again

typewriter-crop.jpgEd Dante’s, The Shadow Scholar, is an article by a paper mill writer, explaining his trade, in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education. The comments below the article itself are a treat, illustrating exactly why we need to talk about this problem openly in Higher Education. Dante’s piece is a bit more detailed, but in the same vein as Nick Mamatas’ article The Term Paper Artist (Oct 2008) which was followed up by an interview with Mamatas on NPR’s On the Media.

Both of these pieces illustrate how our current habits of assessment are desperately in need of revision. Yes, it’s unethical for students to buy custom-made coursework and for paper mills to supply them with it, but the fundamental problem is that universities provide a ready supply of identikit essay topics, formats and assessment criteria that create this market in the first place.

One Comment

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  1. citizenbay / Jan 31 2011 9:22 pm

    That fundamental problem you mention Gauti is similar to the one I come across in marketing…Identikit approaches…or as I prefer to call it Lemming Marketing…

    One does it (‘we need an iPad App’) they all have to do it, without thinking through the wider relevance of the action. Other than making people feel warm about how ‘on trend’ they are, the fundamentals of whether it will help grow their business or consumer trust often fail to get considered.

    I tracked a major marketing event last year for the key words mentioned through the Twitter feed, including all the quotes of the conference speakers…

    Most popular word mentioned was, by far, iPad. Two words that were hardly ever mentioned were ‘Sales’ and ‘Trust’.

    Fixation on the narrow seems to be affecting the academic and business worlds. A greater sense of wonder and curiosity needs to be injected into both.

    You never know, curiosity might kill off the copycats…

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