Comments on: The Shadow Scholar – The Chronicle of Higher Education

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The Shadow Scholar – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The currency of the Academy is supposed to be honesty. That is still true. Unfortunately, it has never been the reality – although I remain convinced that it hasn’t always been as bad as it is now.
This is despicable.
There are people I know personally whom I suspect got their degrees this way. Some have gone on to become department heads and deans. They are often the ones who cry out the loudest and come down on students the hardest – as long as those students aren’t their own of course. Their own students are miraculously never suspect – even the ones who can’t rub 2 words together when they are speaking.
…something about protesting too much, methinks.

There are also people I know personally who conveniently look the other way when students (especially their own) produce work that is suspiciously good. One colleague of mine has theorized that fully 1 in 5 faculty members got to where they are now through some form of plagiarism.

1 in 5.

The corporatization of Higher Ed is a significant influence. When everything becomes about money then everything acquires a price tag.

Do you ever wonder how a student who struggles to formulate complete sentences in conversation manages to produce marginally competent research? How does that student get by you?

OOOH, OOOH! I know the answer to that one!

Here’s food for thought:

I, who have no name, no opinions, and no style, have written so many papers at this point, including legal briefs, military-strategy assessments, poems, lab reports, and, yes, even papers on academic integrity, that it’s hard to determine which course of study is most infested with cheating. But I’d say education is the worst. (emphasis mine)

I am not surprised. Saddened, but not surprised.

In the enormous conspiracy that is student cheating, the frontline intelligence community is infiltrated by double agents.

Say what you want about me, but I am not the reason your students cheat.

You know what’s never happened? I’ve never had a client complain that he’d been expelled from school, that the originality of his work had been questioned, that some disciplinary action had been taken. As far as I know, not one of my customers has ever been caught.

Good News Everyone:

“thanx so much for uhelp ican going to graduate to now”.


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Comments on: The Shadow Scholar – The Chronicle of Higher Education — 2 Comments

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  2. I ghost-wrote for an ESL student, once. He gave me the criteria. I outlined the whole essay for him in 30 minutes. Told him to write it himself, but he didn’t understand many of my key arguments. I browsed the book and wrote the whole thing in 2 hours (the time it took us to discuss everything) – then told him to go and put that in his own words. He gave up on that, because writing the essay from scratch on a subject he *could* articulate was easier than re-writing my essay in his words.

    He immigrated from Hong Kong. As I understand it, the education system there (and in places like Pakistan) has a pretty strong “factory” mentality. SAIT has expressed some difficulties in teaching many ESL students to think independently, rather than taking a single idea and reproducing instances of it for a career.

    I’ve read most of the comments on that article. There’s so much I just want to yell at. This is a complex interplay of socio-economic factors.

    * colleges and universities are not (nor have they ever been) meritocratic. They amplify existing class divides, along lines of inheritance (genetics, rearing, education, wealth, social capital). You don’t have those advantages, you’re far less likely to succeed in academia (much less progress in it; those that do seem to ignore inheritance).

    * Degrees, by virtue of their breadth, assure that they are not needed to perform well in a profession – only to get hired into one. Most people don’t use most of their education. The running joke is that they retain about 10% of it, and the rest atrophies. There are plenty of jobs I could do very, very well without an education, and I know plenty of educated people that screw them up – because they don’t have the background for job-specific training.

    * Businesses ask for degrees when they could just train someone to do that job well. Ergo, it is not the case that a person who cheats through school will screw up their career – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Business still rewards the ruthless; “if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying hard enough”.

    * Quality of life: to escape poverty, much less achieve things that are considered an entitlement (like independent living, or home ownership) it is almost always necessary for one member of the household to be a skilled labourer. That means educational credentials.

    In short, I completely understand where this guy’s coming from. I don’t see how anyone, or anything, goes blame-free in this. No single scapegoat is sufficient.

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