lnternational Day of Action Against Contract Cheating

Monday 18th October 2021

Wednesday 20 October is the Sixth lnternational Day of Action Against Contract Cheating. Bloomsbury Institute is joining schools and universities around the world to stand against the practice of contract cheating. But what is contract cheating? Why are we worried about it? And what are we doing to take part in the IDOA?

What is contract cheating? 

The most common kind of contract cheating is buying an essay. Some people run online essay shops (often called ‘essay mills’) where students pay for somebody else to do their work for them. This isn’t the only kind of contract cheating, though. If somebody else completes some or all of your work and you pretend you have produced the entire thing, that’s contract cheating.

Why are we worried about it? 

Just from the description, it should be obvious why we think contract cheating needs to stop. It’s dishonest, and it goes completely against our institutional values. But this isn’t actually the most important reason we’re so concerned about it. In fact, the main reasons we’re concerned are all about student wellbeing. 

  1. In the past, students have been blackmailed by essay mills. It’s not hard for them to find a student’s details if that student buys an essay from them. Once they know the student’s details, they can threaten that student with revealing their academic misconduct.  
  2. Students are often misled and overcharged by essay mills. Since essay mills operate in a grey area of the law (and the government has confirmed that they will soon be made illegal in the UK), there is very little concern for customer rights. Students have been sent rubbish or irrelevant essays, or essays full of plagiarism and mistakes, and have often been unable to get any refund for the money they’ve spent.
  3. Students report feelings of guilt and dissatisfaction after committing contract cheating. It’s not surprising – a degree is something you should be able to take pride in, not something you should just buy your way towards.  

We think these are all very important reasons to take a stand against contract cheating. So, how are we doing it? 

Woman writingWhat are we doing to take part in the IDOA? 

We have been working on a new way to communicate with students about academic integrity. Rather than relying on complex policy documents and a few seminars, we want there to be a resource available to you to help with all of your questions. In recognition of the IDOA, we’re unveiling that resource early. It’s a website which has been designed to be easily read and navigated, and you can find it here.

The website isn’t finished yet, but you can still get a sneak peek by clicking the link above. You won’t just find information about contract cheating (which includes sources for all the claims made earlier). You’ll also find loads of information about how Bloomsbury Institute can help you. We think our students are fantastic, and so any student who is considering turning to contract cheating is probably doing so because they’re struggling, not because they’re lazy. We want to make sure that you know where you can get help, advice and support for any problems you might be facing. That way you won’t have the run the risks of blackmail, false advertising and guilt.

If you have more questions about contract cheating or anything else to do with academic integrity, you can email me: Jamie Cawthra (jamie.cawthra@bil.ac.uk). I’m the academic lead for Academic Integrity Matters, our campaign to raise awareness of and reduce cheating. I’d also love to hear what you think about the new website, and what you hope to see in the final version! 

Stay safe, keep being the honest students we’re so proud of, and consider checking out some of the online events which are running on 20 October.