Upholding Academic Integrity: An Institutional Response to Student Use of Contract Cheating Services

Abstract

Students paying online contract cheating services for individualized and affordable responses to their assessment tasks is a serious threat to academic integrity in universities. Australian universities were thrown into this arena due to public press coverage of the MyMaster contract cheating ‘scandal’ in 2015. This incident named prominent universities, numbers for student cheaters, details of payments, and more. Since then, Australian universities have sought to understand the extent of the problem, find ways to address practices, manage reputational risks, and demonstrate responses to the government regulator’s requirements.
Existing data matching software rarely detect these customized student submissions. Contract cheating services are readily available and promoted to students through social media, peers and direct marketing on internet browsers. Of particular concern are vulnerable students who may be persuaded by such marketing to use these sites, believing they are not doing anything wrong or have no thoughts of future consequences.
This presentation provides insights into the thought leadership and practices of a large research-intensive metropolitan university in Australia, that is addressing this challenge, based on an institutional academic integrity action plan. Aspects of the plan include ensuring robust policies are in place; supporting academics in investigating breaches; taking appropriate action against misconduct; strengthening administration structures and practices; building an institutional culture of integrity; educating staff and students; strengthening assessment design; and exploring technological solutions. This presentation aims to inform participants and encourage discussion about the benefits and challenges of this approach as well as social learning about other academic integrity approaches.



Author Information
Christine Slade, The University of Queensland, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: IICEHawaii2021
Stream: Professional Training

This paper is part of the IICEHawaii2021 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by amp21