Detecting contract cheating. Blogjune 8/23


It’s minimalist Blogjune – one pic, one thing I did today.

I investigate Academic Integrity cases for STEM degrees at work. Course Coordinators who suspect a breach add information to a database. Within five days, someone like me looks at their report, the student work, access logs from our learning management system and similar to work out whether there is enough evidence to start an investigation under the university’s academic integrity policy.

If I think there is, I make an appointment for a half hour interview with the student as part of my university’s educative approach. While a professional support person takes notes, and our meeting is videoed, I find out what the student understands about Academic Integrity. I explain that if everyone at the uni observes Academic Integrity then the student’s degree stays marketable. I then invite the student to explain the process and show evidence of how they produced the work.

I then decide the formal penalty. The most I can do is change the mark for the assessment to zero, so sometimes I prepare a case for a panel hearing where other penalties can be applied.

What I did today: Attended an all-day seminar at a posh hotel in the city, run by the university regulator, TEQSA . It was around detecting contact cheating, which is work completed by somebody else for a student. This is not necessarily only illegal paper mills, but covers third year students passing their work down to the second years, or somebody’s aunt writing their coding assessment.

Over the day, we considered whether commercial contract cheating is worse than non-paid cheating. We debated whether universities should revoke degrees if new ways of detecting cheating shows a graduate was faking their assessments.

And libraries got a look-in… with a hypothetical of a library staff member noticing that one student had booked out four study rooms, with a sign in Chinese appearing in the hallway offering “coaching and tutoring”.

The back of a blank postcard sitting on a laptop.

Today’s pic is the back of the postcard we all wrote to ourselves at the end of the session outlining an action we will take. The organisers will mail it to us in three weeks. It’s also a nifty way to get session feedback

What do you think? Let us know.