Friday, 8 June 2007
Guy posted about this website where you can get essays written for you ... and the essays are guaranteed to be 'plagiarism free'.
"Are they 'aving' a larf??"
Yes. I think so. The website has lots of videos where a lovely lady explains to you how the site helps you learn by writing 'model answers' just for you... It is really spooky and although I am not sure how most students will afford the service, it is just another example of how those with the cash will retain their social status even in the age of democratic social software.
I am all FOR the sharing of expertise and so on; I am into the idea of learning from others and I understand that information these days is easy to access and ubiquitous anyway. Online textmaking has allowed us to collaborate over text making and a feature of this is that content is often multiply authored - making it hard to credit individuals. This sharing is based around ideals of democratic access and process as well as credit where it is due - to the group. It is about time we started thinking about assessing differently. I hate the whole idea of assessment anyway. Why not just teach people to learn and and help them explore ways of enjoying learning? Why do we have to measure everything? Asessment is of course all a social construct anyhow and abstract standards have become ludicrously reified. It's quite a weird currrency. (You can hear teachers sometimes say things like 'she is a level 4', for example).
Anyway ....paying an anonymous person to write your assignments and take the credit is something different.
I am shocked by the site but don't think it is an indication of the evils of the 'digital age'; it is an indication that we are shoving people off to university when they don't really want to do the courses. The whole notion of widening participation, while sounding like a great idea, has been far less about choice for 18 year olds, and more about obliging them to take part in something they perhaps don't want to participate in.
What are the repercussions for universities and the academics who work in them.... are they the moonlighters who are writing the essays for these crappy companies?