Students in the United Kingdom have taken to using Indian expertise in information technology to complete their course assignments by posting them on outsourcing websites and then buying the completed coursework.
Thomas Lancaster, lecturer in the Department of Computing in Birmingham City University told HT, “A number of students here, in the US, Australia and New Zealand – in fact from most English-speaking countries — are doing this.”
He said that this “contract cheating” came to light after over two years of monitoring. Students pay anything between £5 to £50 for the completed coursework— which they pass off as their own, to obtain degrees. The trend is particularly strong in IT courses, in which students need to write programmes.
The modus operandi is outwardly legitimate. Lancaster said students use legit websites, offering freelance project work or tutorial sites specifically set up for the purpose.
India and Romania are popular destinations where such assignments are completed for a fee. IT professionals bid to complete the assignments and British students who post them then select the lowest bid.
Lancaster told HT that they were working out ways to plug such cheating. “One way is to make students sit for exams instead of just assignments.” The questions would be set so as to analyse how much a student has been able to absorb the lectures.
In their research, Lancaster and Robert Clarke, a colleague at the same university, analysed postings on a number of business outsourcing websites over a 20-month period between 2004 and 2006 and found about 1,000 cases of contract cheating.