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Academic Integrity for Students

Definition

Assiniboine's Policy A25 includes the following in its definition of cheating:

  • “Acquiring a paper from a commercial term paper company (or portion thereof), acquiring a paper or assignment (or portion thereof) from another person, or acquiring a copy of or information about a test or exam” (Assiniboine Community College, 2013).

 

Contract cheating, essay mills, and auction platforms are collectively called the Industry (Hersey, 2019) in academic integrity research. Newton (2018) specifies the act of payment as the factor which makes contract cheating “deliberate, pre-planned and intentional” (p.2).

 

Outsourcing work, however, does not always involve formal contracts or the exchange of money (Bretag et al., 2019). At Assiniboine, cheating has involved students asking or allowing the following people to write their assignments:

  • classmates
  • parents
  • siblings
  • former students
  • tutors
  • students in similar programs at other educational institutions

This has been done in exchange for favours or stopping bullying. 

 

Sometimes these incidents of academic misconduct come from confusion or lack of awareness. At other times, students have actively sought to outsource their work to third parties.

Contract Cheating at Assiniboine

Canada is currently tied for second place among “countries where students engage in contract cheating” (Toye et al., 2019). Assiniboine is no exception.

 

An initiative to first track then block access to websites offering contract cheating and plagiarism websites showed that Assiniboine students:

  • accessed and uploaded assignments and tests to websites which market themselves to students as “study guides” and “homework help”
  • accessed sites marketed as “paraphrasing tools” which facilitate both plagiarism and contract cheating.

 

Students using these sites risk:

  • not learning the skills and gaining the knowledge their programs require
  • violating copyright law by uploading Assiniboine materials
  • being blackmailed by the contract cheating service provider that they pay to complete their assignments for them (see Yorke et al., 2020)

 

Contract cheating sites are businesses whose concern is profit, despite marketing themselves to students as “study guides” and “homework help”. They're not concerned about students:

  • learning with integrity
  • having representative credentials
  • adhering to school policies.
Becoming involved with contract cheating sites is a risk which students don't need to take. Assiniboine offers many academic support to students.

Assiniboine Supports

The Learning Commons works to bring awareness about contract cheating to the Assiniboine learning community throughout Manitoba in various ways, including:

  • in-class or online workshops for students
  • professional development opportunities for staff and faculty

Contact Josh in the library for more information.