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DD paid £130 to get an assignment done for her.

(318 Posts)
Piggie90 Wed 24-Apr-19 01:03:30

DD went away this long weekend and completely ignored her college research project before she went away. Cut a very long story short, she used some of her birthday money (18th) to pay a company (didn't even know they existed) to write a 2500 word project for her.

AIBU to never lend her a penny again? I'm actually fuming.

ilovesooty Wed 24-Apr-19 01:05:40

Probably wasted money. There is quite sophisticated software to identify plagiarism now.

AhoyDelBoy Wed 24-Apr-19 01:07:21

Ooof. I’d be wild too! Not to mention the potential repercussions.. Are you going to encourage her to tell the college? I’m not in the UK so don’t really know what you guys class as ‘college’. Presumably it’s not University but some post school qualification?

AlexaShutUp Wed 24-Apr-19 01:07:49

YANBU, it's cheating. Sadly, these essay mills are becoming very common.

I hope she gets found out. I'd be inclined to tell the college what she has done. There may be consequences, but if she gets away with it this time, she'll almost certainly do it again.

AhoyDelBoy Wed 24-Apr-19 01:10:06

Oh yes and what ilovesooty said. When I did my first degree (graduated 2008) it didn’t exist but when I started study again a few years ago they run your assignment through special programmes to identify plagiarism. She’s fucked basically. I’m surposhe didn’t know about that? We always got a big talk about plagiarism etc

Purpletigers Wed 24-Apr-19 01:10:31

Did you pay for her trip away ? I wouldn’t be giving her any more money either . If she’s caught what will happen ?
Considering the American college scandal I’m sure this happens a lot more often than we realise.

AhoyDelBoy Wed 24-Apr-19 01:11:18

Surprised*

englishdictionary Wed 24-Apr-19 01:18:49

I get that you are mad, what she has done is awful but I can't quite tie it in with your question about lending her money :/

Disquieted1 Wed 24-Apr-19 01:21:16

Some would dob in their own child, get her kicked off the course and ruin her future. Not sure I agree with that!

The alarming thing is that she feels that the quick fix, throwing money at an issue, is how to get on. She needs a lesson in what life is really about.
I wouldn't give her another penny. She needs to learn that you have to work for success, not buy it.

AlexaShutUp Wed 24-Apr-19 01:21:25

The anti-plagiarism software only flags up matches, i.e. work that has been copied. It would only flag up a purchased assignment if the same or similar work had been submitted previously. So an "original" assignment could easily slip through undetected. Still, there is a risk that the teacher may recognise that it isn't your dd's own work.

I believe that there is a newer version of the software being trialled to try to address the problem of essay mills. I think it analyses the style of writing and looks at whether it is consistent with other samples of the same student's work. No idea how effective it is though.

ElizabethMainwaring Wed 24-Apr-19 01:23:21

Hi. If she is caught she may well be kicked off the course. I know someone who was doing a BEd and did this. She also wasn't allowed to return to the university years later.

Piggie90 Wed 24-Apr-19 01:24:53

Yes all her assignments go through turnitin but this company is apparently "turnitin" friendly". Such a joke they even exist.

Yes, I chipped in some of the money for her break away as part of her present. I just feel to waste money when I do help her when I can, for example I help with her bus pass money and lunch money, to waste so much on that because "she was out of time" makes my piss boil.

WTFisThat Wed 24-Apr-19 01:27:04

I know someone who paid a Chinese student to do their dissertation for them (not at the time, but 2 years hence). I've also heard of students buying ADHD meds to help them focus. No idea if they work.

howmanyleftfeet Wed 24-Apr-19 01:28:36

I've also heard of students buying ADHD meds to help them focus

A lot of undiagnosed ADHD about!

Also, the power of placebo is not to be underestimated...

Topseyt Wed 24-Apr-19 01:32:54

It is disgraceful. It is cheating. Yes, I would tell college tutors about it if I could.

In the end though, it is herself she is letting down.

I hope the work gets a really low mark, so that she realises she has wasted her £130.

BinkyBaa Wed 24-Apr-19 01:38:40

Yanbu for being annoyed, I wouldn't tell the tutors though.

If this gets found out, theres a fair chance it'll ruin her life and block her from higher education.

If the anti-plagiarism software catch her out, then it's all her fault.

If you tell the tutors yourself, then I wouldn't be surprised if she blamed you and it ruined your relationship too.

wigglesniggles Wed 24-Apr-19 01:40:53

Ingenious but high risk. She's copped out. I can't imagine they won't notice the project is not hers. Why did she ignore it?

ElizabethMainwaring Wed 24-Apr-19 01:42:29

Has she already submitted it Piggie90?

Tavannach Wed 24-Apr-19 01:42:43

Won't she get turfed off her course when they find out?
Because your DD hasn't actually done the assignment she hasn't got the knowledge she would have gained from doing it herself. I would think that would become obvious over time.

RamblinRosie Wed 24-Apr-19 01:47:03

They can also compare other assignments she’s done and see if the style is consistent. She’ll be caught, if not this time, then next.

You WNBU to withdraw support, she’s cheated , she does not deserve her qualification.

If she does, somehow, manage to cheat her way through, she’s cheating any future employer.

Humpy84 Wed 24-Apr-19 02:21:31

I don’t think you should dob her in, the consequences are too great and will be noted possibly on her academic transcript forever, Just shame her and go through the possible repercussions. She needs time management skills and to speak to a counsellor about this. She also needs to address what she wants out of this course and her life goals, values etc. Does she care about her future occupation and being good at it or is it all for show ? If not that, what about her future earning potential from being good at her job ? She needs to learn and appreciate the value of education.

Rosesaredead Wed 24-Apr-19 02:24:26

They probably won't find out, these articles are tailor-made unless she used a crap company. Good for her, it's just one assignment. Using her initiative! 🤷

Rosesaredead Wed 24-Apr-19 02:25:31

Also if you did report her she'd be immediately expelled as per most uni and college rules so that would be massively unreasonable and she'd probably cut you out of her life

Sweetpea55 Wed 24-Apr-19 02:32:42

It's cheating. Disgusting

Adversecamber22 Wed 24-Apr-19 02:42:23

That level of cheating would have involved a meeting and would have resulted in expulsion at both the Universities I worked in.

CallItLoneliness Wed 24-Apr-19 02:46:03

I would check the rules of her college, if you can. I work in a (well-regarded) university outside the UK and for a first offence students get an educational meeting (we can't even give them 0 for the assignment, which pisses me off no end, but that's another story). It does mean we can throw the book at them when we catch them a second time, though--if the rules at her college are like this, then I would dob her in.

Having said that, my experience is that the ones who cheat get their comeuppance eventually anyway; they're usually not as crafty as they think they are.

HowManyFlatCaps Wed 24-Apr-19 03:25:57

CallIt — of course you think that the ones who cheat get their comeuppance eventually. The ones who cheat and get away with it, you never find out about grin

mathanxiety Wed 24-Apr-19 03:33:46

I agree with Humpy84.

Her heart is not in her studies. What is going on with her?

I also think you should stop funneling money to her for little things like bus and lunch money. She needs to be more self sufficient. Cut out personal services like laundry too if you do this for her.

Let her get a p/t job if she doesn't have one already. It might focus her mind on how shitty low wage jobs and pay are, and force her to manage her time better.

I doubt she will be found out. This isn't plagiarism per se. It's cheating, and of course she will have to live with herself forever with this in her heart.

Decormad38 Wed 24-Apr-19 03:49:24

I always recognised these essays when marking without Turnitin. The reason being:
It’s not the style of writing of a mediocre 18 year old. That raises suspicion.
Also we get to recognise the essays.Despite the so called individuality.
If she’s in FE it’s even easier to spot Im afraid!
If she’s doing a professional course ( like nursing) the student is also in breach of the NMC Code so absolutely no qualms about removing them.
In New Zealand this would be classed as an illegal act!

BadLad Wed 24-Apr-19 03:50:15

Is there good money in this?

I might suggest it next time I see a post on here where someone needs money quickly.

It would make a change from Become a childminder, or Take in ironing.

barryfromclareisfit Wed 24-Apr-19 04:07:41

When you have to mark, it’s surprising how easy it is to recognise work you’ve seen before.

LonelyTiredandLow Wed 24-Apr-19 04:32:20

I actually know someone who admitted to me they had done this. They had a very poorly planned programme) I was on the course and can vouch for it and 3 small children. They had already had an extension as each child had been ill in turn in the weeks leading up to the deadline plus a few health issues of their own. He ordered one and it was barely comprehensible and clearly written by someone with a poor grasp of English. The thrust of the essay was apparently sound but it would have mean re-writing it anyway. He had to cobble together his own with a couple of days to spare in the end, which he did. I think it's funny how many people seem to think they can buy this 'perfect' essay when really there is no recourse if it goes wrong. I imagine thousands of students are scammed in this way every day! Some might say it serves them right, others might say it shows up a systemic failure of modern day universities and their audiences.

Fazackerley Wed 24-Apr-19 04:45:25

I doubt the college will notice. Essay mills don't plagiarise if they are good at it. If it's a one off then I would let it go. Long term I'd be talking to her about whether she genuinely feels this is the right course for her. She spent her birthday money on it so it's her decision, you didn't pay for it.

PregnantSea Wed 24-Apr-19 04:53:41

Absolutely do not give her a penny again! Well, not at least until a lot of time has passed and she has proven that she's changed and matured.

Tell the college. They won't kick her out if it's a first offence. This is by far the best way to ensure that it never happens again as they will be on high alert. Also this makes it clear to your daughter that you don't condone what she did. I think that keeping her secret, even if you tell her off, sends the message that it's ok to do stuff like this and that will protect her from the consequences if she makes bad choices.

PregnantSea Wed 24-Apr-19 04:54:33

*that you will protect her from

Fazackerley Wed 24-Apr-19 04:54:41

I can't imagine what kind of parent you'd have to be to tell the college about this. Not to mention your dd has presumably confided in you.

sashh Wed 24-Apr-19 05:26:46

She will probably be found out. Attempted plagiarism is rife in FE colleges, but easy to spot.

1)the style of writing

2) the spelling,or lack of or the big one suddenly an entire essay is in American spelling

3) The content is not what was asked for, a couple of examples from marking health and social care assignments, one that started telling me about the spy shop in London, the essay was on 'health surveillance' so things like the film badges worn by radiographers, the other one was supposed to be an essay on the human respiratory system but included building regulations because the writer misunderstood, 'ventilation'.

She may get asked to do the '5 word test', she will have 'her' assignment given back to her with ever 5th word blanked out and asked to fill in the gaps. When it is your own essay you can do it easily, when it isn't, well you struggle.

I can't imagine what kind of parent you'd have to be to tell the college about this. Not to mention your dd has presumably confided in you.

One that values education, if this isn't picked up by the college and it is picked up by the external verifier then the college is in big trouble.

OP

Please inform the college, I'm guessing she is on something like a BTEC. It can be handled by the college and their disciplinary policy.

JAMMFYesPlease Wed 24-Apr-19 05:33:48

As a freelance writer, I used to get asked to do homework and college essays all the time. Each time I turned them down.

I know one writer who would inform the college if he got the details. He once got the college, tutor, and class details so sent off proof of the student attempting to buy the essay.

YANBU for being livid btw. I can't stand people who try to cheat their way through college. It doesn't help them when they can't do the exams or do the job they want.

LellyMcKelly Wed 24-Apr-19 05:36:38

I’m a lecturer and get one or two of these in almost every batch of essays these days. They’re usually pretty easy to spot because they’re too well written, they use sources that our library doesn’t have, they don’t use any of the hints and tips discussed in class, the referencing is correct but not the style we use, the document properties suggest that the student has spent 20 minutes writing an entire essay (when they’ve just pasted it into a clean document and fiddled about with it)...the list goes on. For a first offence they get 0 and have to do the resit, for a second they fail the unit.

I’d be more worried about why she did it. When essays are bought they’re almost always bought by failing students - those who are doing poorly on their course. How is her performance?

SunshineCake Wed 24-Apr-19 05:59:08

It really isn't "ingenious"hmm.

I wouldn't tell her lecturers but very stern words would be had and a long talk on managing finances and time would be had.

Rezie Wed 24-Apr-19 06:10:03

I did my post grad last year. As a mature student I was shocked to find out how openly the students talked about hiring either friends or a company to write their essays. Especially thesis. If the company is reputable (can it really be?) Turnitin doesn't recognize the work since it is still original. My supervisor said that he knows when they are bought, but it is a big accusation to make if it is not flagged by programmes.

FrustratedTeddyLamp Wed 24-Apr-19 06:14:52

I think shes likely to be spotted, when i was in my second year i had no clue what to do so i talked someone into sending me their work, whilst i dont believe i copied their work as i only read it once and i did mine on a different company, my lecturer called me in to have a chat she asked what happened and i told her.

Turns out it was because they were structured the same, luckily for me the lecturer let me off due to my honestly and i got a better mark than the other person.

My point is if they can spot it just because of the layout of the document then with how popular these services are then she is probably fucked.

fluorescentorange Wed 24-Apr-19 06:16:55

My sons friend did this about 10 years ago and got caught and kicked out of Warwick for plagiarism, I think she isn’t as clever as she thinks she is!!

PaquitaVariation Wed 24-Apr-19 06:17:16

She may get asked to do the '5 word test', she will have 'her' assignment given back to her with ever 5th word blanked out and asked to fill in the gaps. When it is your own essay you can do it easily, when it isn't, well you struggle

I’m really glad this wasn’t a thing when I was at university because I would never have passed even though I wrote every word of my essays! Once written they were forgotten, never to be revisited.

MaverickSnoopy Wed 24-Apr-19 06:20:56

I am part of a Freelancer Facebook group and became aware through the group that students are doing this quite a lot. For example a lady was hired to write what she was told was an article for publication, she had no clue that it was an essay. Eventually after it was submitted the brief changed for revisions and then eventually it came out that it was an essay. Many other freelancers jumped in and said there's a lot of this gong on and that it's pretty standard these days. Everyone agreed that they would never do it knowingly.

I don't know what the answer is. I suppose lecturers need to know students writing style - but then they have so many students.

Purplecatshopaholic Wed 24-Apr-19 06:22:16

As someone who - shock, horror - actually wrote her own assignments at Uni, I find this practice really wrong. However I believe it is common nowadays (but HE and FE are wise to it and there is increasingly clever software to counteract it).

Sarcelle Wed 24-Apr-19 06:22:33

I would not tell the college however tempting that would be. I would reiterate to your DD that she is a cheat, how disappointed you are in her, and that you will not be giving her anymore money for the duration of her course.

sashh Wed 24-Apr-19 06:22:51

PaquitaVariation

You would be surprised, you don't have to remember the essay but your style of writing will allow you to 'guess' and be right. You also might forget your essay but you retain the information/research put into it so you can apply it.

justloseit Wed 24-Apr-19 06:24:13

Can’t believe people would grass yo their own kid shock

justloseit Wed 24-Apr-19 06:24:25

*up

SnowsInWater Wed 24-Apr-19 06:24:38

I'd be more upset about the fact that she is a cheat than the money.

Palaver1 Wed 24-Apr-19 06:28:39

Whatever you do please don’t inform the college.
Your worry should be that she doesn’t see this as an easy option and repeat it.

MaybeitsMaybelline Wed 24-Apr-19 06:33:38

She’s done it now, she may or may not got caught. For me the biggest issue is that if she doesn’t get caught and goes on into higher ed she will think this is OK to do again.

She absolutely needs the bollocking of her life and very clear direction why this is so wrong.

A student in DDs s cohort, doing a HCP course used his older sisters professional practice essay that she had done on a similar course five years before at a different university. It was his very first essay in first year and he thought he was being clever.

Ping! Caught at the first hurdle. He was failing student and was never trusted again for the duration of his three years. He barely scraped a third at the end of his degreee.

Mumtoboy123 Wed 24-Apr-19 06:38:46

How on earth did you find out?! I admire her ballseyness but its 100% wrong. I wouldnt tell the college if i were you, that will damage your relationship to unknown levels. I would never lend her money again so she has to get a PT job around her studies. Shes stupid for using her 18th money for it and it would be tempting to replenish the money based on it being her 18th but dont. She will have learnt her lesson. A similar thing happened with my brother at uni, my parents paid the debt and the fine from the uni and my brother is now a self obsessed arse hole who thinks hes above everyone and expects my parents to bail him out of anything so let her learn her lesson. As a person of student age, i admire her thought process, as a mother, i am fuming for you!

BertrandRussell Wed 24-Apr-19 06:43:33

It’s not ingenious or ballsy- the kids are offered this stuff online all the time- all she had to do was click and pay. Depending on the level, £130 isn’t much so she’s unlikely to have got a “premium” service. Which means she is quite likely to get caught.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Wed 24-Apr-19 06:44:26

Has she submitted yet? Is there time for her to rewrite it? Could she negotiate an extension? Do you think that it is a lack of confidence or laziness?

It is often easy to spot as for £130 they are unlikely to have put in the hours required for a good, unique assignment so it will either not be good, not be unique or be neither.

BunnyJumps Wed 24-Apr-19 06:45:36

She will be caught out. There is anti-plagiarism software identifying this kind of cheating which scans essays and spots any identical work. The essay you daughter submitted may already be online or someone else might have paid the same person for the same essay.

AndItStillSaidFourOfTwo Wed 24-Apr-19 06:46:06

She needs to feel repercussions from this. First off I would sit her down, get all the details from her about why she felt the need to do this, find out exactly how she is doing. Then I would very strongly encourage her to report herself to her tutor, with my support if she wanted, along with asking for the associated support (with the work, time management etc) for the reason why she felt the need to resort to this in the first place. I would at this stage make it very clear to her that whether I told the college or not would be entirely dependent on her attitude to what she had done. There would be heavy use of cautionary tales and of how doing this could wreck her career before it has even started.

I wouldn't be ostentatiously angry. I would be very very grave and serious so she feels the weight of what she has done and can't just dismiss it as Mother flying off the handle, iyswim.

ALovingSpirit Wed 24-Apr-19 06:51:30

In a world of outsourcing I think she is already learning valuable work skills:

Vendor selection
Price negotiation
Quality review
Consumption

Whether it’s a project or a large software project you could argue, as a one off, she probably learnt more than by doing the project!

wertuio Wed 24-Apr-19 06:51:52

So much sanctimony here.
Have you sat down with her and discussed why she felt the need to do this?
Is she committed to this course?
Is she actually capable of completing it?
Does she have some other issues that are disrupting her studies?

Our children will always disappoint us if we set unreasonable standards for them.
My youngest has ‘under-achieved’ throughout her life. Resisted being placed in the ‘Gifted & Talented’ group in Y10.
Dropped out of 6th Form College the week before her A Levels.
Was accepted for University if she could finish a Year’s Access course but dropped out 3/4 of the way through.
Eventually, in her late 20’s she got a proper diagnosis* of the underlying issues and some properly appropriate therapy**
She’ll probably never fulfil her academic potential now, but she is, most definitely, fulfilling her life potential.

* BPD
** Dialectic Behaviour Therapy

longwayoff Wed 24-Apr-19 06:54:11

Oh that's awful. Hope she's not planning a career in medicine, imagine your surgeon gaining qualifications by cheating!

MindyStClaire Wed 24-Apr-19 06:54:31

Some might say it serves them right, others might say it shows up a systemic failure of modern day universities and their audiences.

Audiences?!

We're not entertainment.

If a student can't write an essay on a topic it means it's either not the course for them or they simply don't have the ability. No one is there with a gun to their heads, if a student doesn't want to engage with their course they should leave it.

HostessTrolley Wed 24-Apr-19 07:00:26

My DS is a second year undergraduate and says that this goes on a lot. His course has quite a few foreign nationals who have poor functional English skills, making group projects really difficult as they are unable to participate meaningfully. However they manage to turn in perfectly written essays which don’t reflect this, or the level of understanding and knowledge they show in tutorials and labs. It makes him cross, mainly because of the extra work they create for the other students, and the unfairness that they’ll come out with the same degree. They generally live in private halls and dont mix socially other than with groups of their own nationality.

NoCauseRebel Wed 24-Apr-19 07:03:29

Can’t believe the number of sanctimonious people on here who would tell the college. These are the same parents no doubt whose children will be on here in years to come talking about how they’re nc.

yes she’s been stupid but ffs she bought an essay, she didn’t kill someone.

She needs to be made aware of the damage that being caught could do to her future educational and career prospects, but really must everything be analysed to death? The fact that these essay mills even exist doesn’t show huge emotional issues among students, it shows that there are companies who are prepared to cash in on students’ who spend too much time drinking and socialising and leave the essay writing to the last minute.

In short, most of these students buy this stuff purely because they can.

I wouldn’t be funding this kind of thing and I would tell her what I think of it, but she’s an adult. If she gets caught then she will have to face the consequences, and I would make her aware of that.

MashedSpud Wed 24-Apr-19 07:04:42

This is rife in open university.

CuriousaboutSamphire Wed 24-Apr-19 07:04:42

Our children will always disappoint us if we set unreasonable standards for them. I was willing t go along but... since when has 'don't cheat, earn it' been an unreasonable expectation?

I taught so many FE students who pondered cheating when extremely stressed, most often by poor time management and/or a belief that they could cruise through A levels as they had their GCSEs!

All we ever had to do was sit and talk to them. Walk them through their options, show them what good time managment looked like. The ones who were fully engaged and were just having one of those moments got it and continued with slightly different mindset, others chose other options such as a different course, to drop a subject, to accept a poor mark and to move on etc.

The last group remained oblivious to their own culpability, called in the reinforcements - parents who would blame the staff - and threw all sorts of teen tantrums to try and get out of what was often their frst 'failure'. These students were usually either made or broken by the first instance of serious self doubt. But a few would manage to delude themelves a few more times. They hurt the most and were often the brightest students - as they had had less need for deliberate study, being organised before.

Piggie90 what you need to do is sit her down and eplxain the possible ramifications of this. Look at her FE contract, it will definitely explain what happens if plagiarism is found. Also show her the same for the university of her choice. Show her how much she has chosen to put at risk - far more than what would have happened had she just gone in and pleaded for clemency, aka an extension!

And yes, do consider persuading her to go in and tell her tutor what she did and asking for time to resubmit - depending on the type of assignment, she may not have that option if the deadline was set by the exam board!

But she cannot be left thinking she got away with it! She needs to feel the fear of being caught... and these days it is much more likely that she will be.

Cbatothinkofaname Wed 24-Apr-19 07:04:52

Universities are well tuned in to this sort of thing so chances are she’ll her caught, which will result in an investigative meeting and some sort of consequence, at best possibly having her qualification capped at a low level, at worst, being disqualified.
It’s not just a case of whether Turnitin recognises plagiarism, it’s whether it fits the style of her other work. Universities have to be really on this sort of cheating because of the huge increase in essay writing services out there.

It’s such a daft thing to do, because the effort of cheating and then having to try to tweak what you’ve paid for to try to avoid it being obvious plagiarism and also trying to match your own writing style- you may as well write the damn thing yourself.

It also raises the question of why? Is she not up to doing the work herself, ability wise? What would happen with the next big piece of work she has to do? It’s hardly going to build her confidence in her skills if she just relies on someone else doing the work for her.

Couldn’t disagree more with the pp she’ll learn ‘valuable skills’ from this about outsourcing, demand and consumption etc
Everyone knows these services are out there, she’s hardly some entrepreneurial spark for having handed over £130 for some bit of work which will most likely expose her as a cheat. She’s been well and truly done over if she thinks she’s done something clever.

I don’t think you’ll need to inform the institution because it’s highly likely they’ll spot something. I would be very wary of monetary gifts in future too as she clearly has no idea how to make good choices

AndItStillSaidFourOfTwo Wed 24-Apr-19 07:09:43

There's nothing 'sanctimonious' about not wanting a young girl to start off down a path of buying her way through life, with the stakes getting higher and the potential loss greater each time, because (as you so aptly say) she can - and if (barring being caught out by college) all that happens to her this time is her mother tutting at her a bit but otherwise leaving her to her merry way, she is likely to feel she can.

She might develop a conscience, regret it deeply and not do it again. She might think 'great, got away with it' and store it away as a useful strategy for the future. Ruining her own work ethic, increasing the stakes/risks for next time and upsetting the playing field for everyone else's (= your) kids.

Just because she's 18, doesn't mean she might not need a little saving from herself now and again. This seems the right time to nip this sort of thing in the bud.

IceRebel Wed 24-Apr-19 07:16:17

Chances are she's had the assignment for a lot longer than this weekend, so going away shouldn't have had too much of an impact on her completing it. The fact she has instead paid someone shows she has been neglecting to do it for some time.

As others who work in colleges and universities have said she will 100% get caught, so there's no need for you to tell them. The outcome of her being caught cheating will depend on the college, but it could easily lead to her being removed from the course.

FamilyOfAliens Wed 24-Apr-19 07:24:36

My best friend’s daughter got caught for “auto-plagiarism” - she used parts of one of her own assignments (that had been through turnitin) for another assignment, but failed to list it in her references, even though it was her own work.

It was touch and go while they investigated, and eventually deducted 15% of her marks for that assignment, which took it down a grade. She was lucky and I’ve been telling all the uni students I know about it since, as none of them were aware of auto-plagiarism.

IrisAtwood Wed 24-Apr-19 07:26:34

@mashedspud This is rife in open university

How would you know this? The OU uses several levels of plagiarism filter, including the fact that tutors have a small group of 15 students. This means that tutors spot plagiarism very quickly and easily because they know their students’ work. For this reason the OU are more likely to pick up plagiarism than brick universities!

MuseumofInnocence Wed 24-Apr-19 07:27:03

It’s a crime that seems minor, especially if you’re not in the world of education, but ultimately can end up saying a lot about character. To cheat in this way is a betrayal of something honourable

Fazackerley Wed 24-Apr-19 07:27:13

Oh that's awful. Hope she's not planning a career in medicine, imagine your surgeon gaining qualifications by cheating!

It's common practice among international students on elite courses. Unis know and don't care. (£££)

DonkeyHohtay Wed 24-Apr-19 07:27:28

Turnitin will just check for matches against previously submitted work. I can't catch work which is 100% original, but written by someone else. I am a freelance writer and I have been approached to do this sort of thing in the past. I always refuse, it's very, very wrong.

Of course it's cheating and I certainly wouldn't be lending her money again. And also questioning her whole life outlook if she thinks this is OK.

Fazackerley Wed 24-Apr-19 07:28:52

And everyone can get off their high horse about plagiarism. Good bought essays are personally written. I agree with Bernard that 160 isn't that high but I suppose it depends what level the essay is being written for.

Kennehora Wed 24-Apr-19 07:32:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cdtaylornats Wed 24-Apr-19 07:32:24

It is a 2500 word essay so hardly her dissertation. She would be better off just failing too hand it in.

cordeliavorkosigan Wed 24-Apr-19 07:38:26

I have taught at Unis and I don't think they would catch it if it is custom written. It won't come up on turnitin unless parts of the text have been used before. A tutor who knows your DD personally might notice that the level doesn't match her comments in class (if she is making them). I'm not aware of style match checkers that get run automatically on all the pairs of submitted works students turn in - though this might exist, I suppose.

DonkeyHohtay Wed 24-Apr-19 07:41:23

Is there good money in this?

Not really. OP's daughter paid £130 for 2,500 words. Writer will be getting (probably) less than half of that. Say £60. Obviously depends what the topic is but you'd have to put in the effort of reading up on the subject and creating a decent essay of Uni standard. At least 4 hours, £15 an hour. More than minimum wage, but not megaloads.

There are hundreds of these companies and they are blatant about what they do. Some will say that they offer specimen answers, or model essays, and that students can then go off and use that as a base for their own original work. Yeah right. They are well aware that work bought as an "example" will be handed in as the student's own work.

I've reported someone for this too. Had an email through a freelancing platform - not an essay mill site - asking if I'd write a dissertation for a student. He said he was very local to me and it would be handy to pass over notes. His subject topic was very niche and it just so happens that one of the mums I know through school lectures in a similar topic. So I texted her. She knew exactly who he was and I forwarded all emails to her. He was hauled up in front of the University court or whatever, but said he was just asking for a model answer to base his work on. They didn't really believe him but because he'd not got as far as actually turning in my work as his own, he stayed on his course. AFAIK though he had to attend a Viva to defend his dissertation against three of the staff, which is exceptionally unusual for an undergrad. Because they knew he was a cheat.

LonelyTiredandLow Wed 24-Apr-19 07:42:31

@Mindy - I said 'audience' as I see it has morphed into a business. Would you rather I said clients?

FWIW we were given 15k words worth of assignments with 3 exams to be handed in within 3 weeks. More than the dissertation! The jump from y1 to y2 was for us huge and whereas in y1 you had a "summary" class at the end of each topic which roughly spelled out the essay for you (making those of us who had bothered to work hard on it in advance feel cheated) this didn't happen in y2, so when we (the hard workers) had all been told to "calm down or burn out" and began to wait for this 'summary' they stopped doing it. I honestly think Uni's don't always work well for their students - we had a huge cohort of parents but the lack of organisation meant we were often penalised because of it.

IncrediblySadToo Wed 24-Apr-19 07:47:51

My best friend’s daughter got caught for “auto-plagiarism” - she used parts of one of her own assignments (that had been through turnitin) for another assignment, but failed to list it in her references, even though it was her own work. It was touch and go while they investigated, and eventually deducted 15% of her marks for that assignment, which took it down a grade. She was lucky and I’ve been telling all the uni students I know about it since, as none of them were aware of auto-plagiarism

That’s utterly ridiculous! 15% for using her OWN work. Madness.

OP. I can’t believe your biggest issue here is the money. I’d be focusing on the more important things like honesty & integrity. Pride in EARNING her qualification not buying it...

swimmerforlife Wed 24-Apr-19 07:50:07

First page poster, it's not illegal for plagiarism in NZ (as someone who went to Uni in NZ)

Anyway, don't dob her in, it could have huge consequences for your relationship. At the end of the day it is not medicine, engineering or law, otherwise I would have a very different opinion.

If she gets caught (and likely she will) she will have a learnt a very valuable lesson in life. It also may mean she comes to the conclusion that she does / or does not want to continue with the course.

IStillMissBlockbuster Wed 24-Apr-19 07:56:46

OP. I can’t believe your biggest issue here is the money. I’d be focusing on the more important things like honesty & integrity. Pride in EARNING her qualification not buying it...

Yeah this, I would feel so disgusted at the premeditated intention to cheat in favour of going away for the weekend. It's pathetic. She knew about the assignment for how long? Why is she even doing the course?

1sttimeunicorn Wed 24-Apr-19 08:01:13

I work at a university and they would expel her if they found this. The software check is only part of it, the tutor should be able to spot it's not her work. Sorry to say she could be in real trouble for this.

crimsonlake Wed 24-Apr-19 08:01:47

This is a new one on me and yes I would be beyond furious.

wigglesniggles Wed 24-Apr-19 08:02:08

Of course the issue is that this is wrong rather than the money, of course it's not fair to other students, but the question is why did she do it? PPs can't jump on high horses about laziness and dishonesty when we don't know why, I suspect there are ongoing issues rather than a totally out of character one off.

EvaHarknessRose Wed 24-Apr-19 08:03:31

I wouldn’t lend her or give her money for a long time.

CuriousaboutSamphire Wed 24-Apr-19 08:06:24

And everyone can get off their high horse about plagiarism. Good bought essays are personally written Bloody hell! Really? You really think that just because someone personally wrote a piece it is OK?

That’s utterly ridiculous! 15% for using her OWN work. Madness. Not really. You have to turn in 100% original work. If you submit your own work more than once you are effectively asking to be let off some of it. It is double dipping, cheating! Think of it as asking your boss to accept work you did on Monday as work you did on Tuesday and then taking Tuesday afternoon off!.

InspectorClouseauMNdivision Wed 24-Apr-19 08:06:36

They can be as turnitin friendly as they possibly can, but!
I've seen bought assignments... Firstly, the teacher will know...
Secondly. They are usually shit. Pass, merit at the very best.

If they find out, she might very well get kicked out of the course.

InspectorClouseauMNdivision Wed 24-Apr-19 08:07:47

And if she paid £130 for 2500 words, she is getting that pass quality...

NCforthis2019 Wed 24-Apr-19 08:10:29

Yikes. She won’t go far in life if she does this! What a cheat. Perhaps the work/course is too hard for her and she isn’t good enough? Either way - shell will get expelled if found out and rightly so. Sorry op, I would feel the same if I were you.

DonkeyHohtay Wed 24-Apr-19 08:10:55

Secondly. They are usually shit. Pass, merit at the very best

How can they NOT be rubbish? I'm a good writer. I make money doing it. But I know nothing about quantum physics, or mechanics, or 17th century Russian literature, or the economy of Malawi, or a whole host of other subjects. If you paid for an essay on one of those topics you'd get a grammatically correct essay with good spelling, sentence structure and punctuation.

But the content would show a lack of basic understanding - because for £60 or even £130 the writer isn't going to do enough reading to develop an in-depth understanding of the subject matter.

AlexaShutUp Wed 24-Apr-19 08:11:46

Wow, there are some shocking comments on here. It's no wonder some people cheat, given that their parents don't appear to have any morals either.

It isn't remotely sanctimonious to say that cheating is wrong! Would you want your dc's teachers to have obtained their qualifications in this way? Your doctor?

I'd be heartily ashamed if my dd did anything like this. However, I know it's common, and not just among international students. Unless Turnitin can be developed to check reliably for differences in style as well as plagiarism, I think the only way is for universities and colleges to switch most of their assessment back to exams and to do vivas on any dissertations etc. I know it would be incredibly resource-intensive to do vivas for all undergraduates and master's students, but otherwise, degrees will cease to be worth the paper that the certificates are printed on. Is that really what we want?

BertrandRussell Wed 24-Apr-19 08:12:53

My dp did some work around the agencies that offer essay/thesis writing once. Apparently they get a lot of work from scientists who don’t have the language skills to present their work-either because they aren’t native speakers or they are native speakers but have poor literacy. It was £5000 and up for a PhD thesis in those days. Individually written by someone in the field. Often actual academics.........

JessieMcJessie Wed 24-Apr-19 08:13:16

I’m interested to know how you found out. Did she tell you? Could it be a sort of cry for help?

FamilyOfAliens Wed 24-Apr-19 08:13:24

That’s utterly ridiculous! 15% for using her OWN work. Madness.

If she'd included it in her references it would have been fine, apparently.

shins Wed 24-Apr-19 08:15:11

I'm so shocked at the casual attitude people have to this. It utterly devalues university degrees and qualifications if they're being handed out to people who can barely string a sentence together, and for professional qualifications like medicine, is downright dangerous. Buying qualifications is what happens in fucked up corrupt countries - it's part of what keeps them fucked upangry

havingtochangeusernameagain Wed 24-Apr-19 08:15:27

That’s utterly ridiculous! 15% for using her OWN work. Madness

Ludicrous. Why would you reinvent the wheel? This thread does indicate why it's better to use exams to assess students, though.

It isn't remotely sanctimonious to say that cheating is wrong! Would you want your dc's teachers to have obtained their qualifications in this way? Your doctor

Somewhat different to getting an essay written. I wonder how many of the holier than thou posters on this thread copied their friends' homework at school or let their friends copy theirs (which is also cheating, by the way).

CuriousaboutSamphire Wed 24-Apr-19 08:17:33

If she'd included it in her references it would have been fine, apparently. Only sort of. I think that is a misinterpetation of what she was told, possbly to lessen the scale of the offence when explaining to her mum!

Has she just included a finding, a thought, an interesting line or two, and referenced it she would have been OK.

Had she just C+Pd a tranche of it then that is self plagiarism!

havingtochangeusernameagain Wed 24-Apr-19 08:17:50

Perhaps the work/course is too hard for her and she isn’t good enough

Maybe she's 18, not very mature and didn't think straight? For goodness sake, you're not a cheat for life because you do something silly in your teens! And I really don't believe that you're all so whiter than white on this thread. Take your sanctimonious nonsense elsewhere.

(When I studied in Germany you had to show ID when you took university exams that counted for the final result)

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