Contract Cheating In 2014 - What Can The Computing Community Do? University of Sheffield - 20 May 2014


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Student cheating and contract cheating continues to involve. This teaching seminar, presented at the University of Sheffield, explores what academics can do about contract cheating, with a particular focus on recent examples. Methods of cheating at all levels, from undergraduate to PhD are explored. The seminar suggests methods that academics within Computer Science and related disciplines can be using to help minimise the problems associated with contract cheating, both when thinking about their own assessment design and when trying to aid the academic community as a whole.

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Contract Cheating In 2014 - What Can The Computing Community Do? University of Sheffield - 20 May 2014

  1. 1. 1@DrLancaster Contract Cheating In 2014 What Online Cheating Is Happening Today & What Can The Computing Community Do About It? Dr. Thomas Lancaster University of Sheffield Tuesday, 20 May 2014
  2. 2. 2@DrLancaster A Bit Of Background
  3. 3. 3@DrLancaster What’s Being Covered? A look at the world in which students are paying (or using) third parties to help them complete their course! Based around selected highlights of research within the Innovations in Computing Education group at Birmingham City University, current news stories and observations of the wider cheating and plagiarism landscape Intention is engage in discussion about what can be done at the University of Sheffield to reduce the opportunities for (and impact of) contract cheating
  4. 4. 4@DrLancaster Discussion Welcome! Twitter - Live – Feel free to join in and share ideas #contractcheating
  5. 5. 5@DrLancaster My Background Dr. Thomas Lancaster Senior Lecturer in Computing Acting Associate Head of School of Computing, Telecommunications and Networks Programme Leader BSc Computer Science Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy PhD “Effective And Efficient Plagiarism Detection” from London South Bank University Leader of Innovations in Computing Education Group
  6. 6. 6@DrLancaster A Nod To My Colleague “Detective Bob” Robert Clarke Educational Consultant and Researcher at SCL Current Visiting Lecturer Former Principal Lecturer 30 Years Experience Teaching At Birmingham City University Has collected over 19,000 attempts at Contract Cheating An expert in “Multi-Dimensional Sudoku”
  7. 7. 7@DrLancaster Why Do Universities Care About Cheating?
  8. 8. 8@DrLancaster The Publicity? Sheffield Star, January 2010
  9. 9. 9@DrLancaster Turning Out People Who Can’t Do Their Job? “this a assignment for do shielding for fast reactor i need the materials, shape, attenuation coefficient and size of the shielding and dose analysis around the reactor. this for health physics or nuclear engineering” Do you want to live within 5 miles of this person?
  10. 10. 10@DrLancaster Disadvantaging “Honest” Students? “Would you like to go for a job and be pipped to the post by someone who cheated in their degree?” Robert Clarke, Birmingham City University When Essays For Sale Become Contract Cheating, November 2012
  11. 11. 11@DrLancaster How Easy Is It To Get Started With Contract Cheating?
  12. 12. 12@DrLancaster “PMs Offering To Help You Cheat!” (December 2013)
  13. 13. 13@DrLancaster How About Contracting A PhD?
  14. 14. 14@DrLancaster Other Sources Of Contract Cheating
  15. 15. 15@DrLancaster Contract Cheating Contract cheating occurs when a student uses a third party to produce an original piece of assessed work for them
  16. 16. 16@DrLancaster Can We Detect Contract Cheating?
  17. 17. 17@DrLancaster This Happened In Florida
  18. 18. 18@DrLancaster “Local 6 News” Sting Operation Writer found on local classified site $95 payment for a seven page finals paper in May 2014 Writer says he earns around $1000 per month for writing 40 papers Hired by both students and their parents Essay not detected as unoriginal by Turnitin
  19. 19. 19@DrLancaster Cheating Happens!
  20. 20. 20@DrLancaster “The Secret World Of Cheaters” WNCT 9 Anonymous survey in May 2014 of 180 students at East Carolina University. 15 out of 180 (8.33%) had paid someone else to do their work for them 18 out of 180 (10%) had been paid by other students to do work for them “I’ve done it. And I’ve passed. I kind of spend my time downtown. I don't study. All these kids in the library, it's easy. If they want a quick extra buck or two, I’m like hey man, write this paper for me.”
  21. 21. 21@DrLancaster UK Students Largely Willing To Cheat Contract Cheating was mathematically modelled by researchers at Manchester University using the Choice Experiment (CE) Method 90 2nd/3rd students at three universities were confidentially asked to consider paying to have upcoming assignment produced for them Over 50% expressed willingness to commit contract cheating depending on expected grade, risk of being caught, penalty posed and the price Rigby, D., Balcombe, K., Burton, M., Bateman. I. and Mulatu, A. (2011), Eliciting The Illicit: Choosing To Cheat, International Choice Modelling Conference 2011, Leeds, July 2011
  22. 22. 22@DrLancaster The Roots Of Our Research
  23. 23. 23@DrLancaster “Observable” Contract Cheating was an “agency site”, primarily for computing tasks, where people could place up jobs they needed completing and other people would bid to complete the work for them. The “average” student posted between 4-7 assignments before their cheating was attributed (RentACoder since renamed and taken over by
  24. 24. 24@DrLancaster How This Was Reported In 2006 Times Higher Education, 16 June 2006
  25. 25. 25@DrLancaster Typical Computing Assignment On Observed on 14 May 2014
  26. 26. 26@DrLancaster Most Of The Time, It’s Not This Easy!
  27. 27. 27@DrLancaster Current Database Of “Observable” Contract Cheating 18,729 detected items between March 2005 and June 2013 16,626 out of 18,729 from (or incorporated sites) Easiest to search Provide plenty of details of users to aid attribution Certain users are actively tracked
  28. 28. 28@DrLancaster Knows About Assignment Use Matt Barrie from – Getting Results From Crowdsourcing (2010 Talk)
  29. 29. 29@DrLancaster Computing Assignments On (Sample of 910 Computing cases collected between Mar 2004 and December 2006)
  30. 30. 30@DrLancaster Typical Manual Detective Success Rate Assignments Posted Source Attributed Student Identified 1 in 3 postings detected 1 in 3 attributed 1 in 3 students found 1 in 27 cheaters dealt with
  31. 31. 31@DrLancaster Contract Cheating Observations
  32. 32. 32@DrLancaster Posted By An Intermediary Contractor Traced through details in attached file Could the chances of identifying the student be improved if the data set attached to posting was individualised?
  33. 33. 33@DrLancaster Some Assignments Are A Distraction! Some staff put a lot of effort into designing interesting and challenging assignments Sometimes they are so interesting that Bob gets distracted from the task of cheating cheaters!
  34. 34. 34@DrLancaster Source Traced Using Turnitin Turnitin can be used to match assignment briefs and subsequently identify the source institutionA 16% match on Turnitin was enough to attribute the source
  35. 35. 35@DrLancaster Open Contract Cheating Questions
  36. 36. 36@DrLancaster What Can We Do About Automated Detection? No one yet has made a serious attempt at automating detection, although solutions have been proposed Automated monitoring and scraping of agency sites Artificial Intelligence techniques to classify whether an auction is student work or not Analyse and track student writing/programming styles (stylometrics)
  37. 37. 37@DrLancaster How Can We Make Contract Cheating Attributable? Can we develop a national/international database of assignments briefs? How far will individualised assignments help to identify individual students? Do we need individual academics to take control for monitoring for their own assignment briefs?
  38. 38. 38@DrLancaster Are We Setting The Right Assignments? Can we develop assignments that are not susceptible to contract cheating? Are exams, practical tests, viva voces appropriate within Computing?
  39. 39. 39@DrLancaster Can We Rely On The Honesty Of Other Students? Harvard To Adopt Student Honesty Pledge, BBC News, 9 May 2014
  40. 40. 40@DrLancaster Are We Clear That Contract Cheating Is An Offence?
  41. 41. 41@DrLancaster Can We Make The Penalties Fit The Crime? “Indian press reports claim one student from the subcontinent was recently deported from the US after all his assignments were found to have been outsourced.” “Aspiring IT Pros Caught Contract Cheating, The Contractor, 2006
  42. 42. 42@DrLancaster Are We Open With Students About Contract Cheating? Do our students understand that their lecturers use the same technologies as they do? Do they see the value of completing their own work for their future employment? How can we work with our students as partners in our exploration of this issue?
  43. 43. 43@DrLancaster Cheating Continues To Evolve…
  44. 44. 44@DrLancaster A Future Cheating Scenario? ting/9828845/story.html “Student One crams until 4 a.m., then falls asleep, exhausted. Three hours later, it’s up for a quick shower, then off to write the 9 a.m. exam with bloodshot eyes, a headache and the nagging feeling of having arms and legs that are about to float away which comes with not enough sleep. Student Two, on the other hand, has prescription medicine that is a powerful stimulant. This student powers through the night and shows up feeling fresh, alert and full of energy, totally focused on the material studied overnight. Is Student Two cheating; obtaining an unfair advantage over Student One with a legally-prescribed drug that enhances performance during the examination?”
  45. 45. 45@DrLancaster And Continues Into The Workplace… (Requested For The Same Person) Systems Development paper Select a sample system for development that would benefit a business of your choice. Prepare a plan for determining the feasibility of the systems development. Present and explain both business and system planning documents and/or templates that allows you to state the objectives, goals and tactics. Explain how they are used and show examples. Please comment on how you would present risks and mitigation strategies to users DB help I need help with an exisiting database form. The form needs to be searchable by patient name. And the follow-up visits section shows 3 slots they would rather have one that shows ALL the follow-up visits. Let me know if more info is needed. The database information is CONFIDENTIAL. Thanks 1600 “live” oncology records from hospital in California
  46. 46. 46@DrLancaster Further Resources
  47. 47. 47@DrLancaster References For Our Contract Cheating Work Lancaster, T. and Clarke, R. (2014), An Initial Analysis Of The Contextual Information Available Within Auction Posts On Contract Cheating Agency Websites, 28th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Information Networking and Applications, University of Victoria, May 2014 Lancaster, T. and Clarke, R. (2014), Using Turnitin As A Tool For Attribution In Cases Of Contract Cheating; 3rd Annual Higher Education Academy Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, April 2014. Clarke, R. and Lancaster, T. (2013). Commercial Aspects Of Contract Cheating; 8th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK, July 2013. Lancaster, T and Clarke, R (2012). Dealing With Contract Cheating: A Question Of Attribution; 1st Annual Higher Education Academy Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Imperial College, London, April 2012. Lancaster, T and Clarke, R (2010). Staff-Led Individualised Assessment – A Case Study; 11th Annual Higher Education Academy Conference in Information and Computer Sciences, Durham University, August 2010. Lancaster, T and Clarke, R (2008). How to Succeed at Cheating Without Really Trying: Five Top Tips for Successful Cheating; 9th Annual Higher Education Academy Conference in Information and Computer Sciences, Liverpool Hope University, August 2008. Clarke, R, and Lancaster, T (2007). Establishing a Systematic Six-Stage Process for Detecting Contract Cheating; The Second International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Applications, Birmingham City University, July 2007. Lancaster, T and Clarke, R (2007). Assessing Contract Cheating Through Auction Sites – A Computing Perspective; 8th Annual Higher Education Academy Conference in Information and Computer Sciences, University of Southampton, August 2007. Lancaster, T and Clarke, R (2007) The Phenomena of Contract Cheating, in Student Plagiarism in an Online World: Problems and solutions, Roberts, T. S. (editor), Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA: Idea Group Inc. Clarke, R and Lancaster, T (2006). Eliminating The Successor To Plagiarism? Identifying The Usage Of Contract Cheating Sites; 2nd Plagiarism: Prevention, Practice and Policy Conference 2006 - Newcastle, UK, June 2006.
  48. 48. 48@DrLancaster For More Information General Resources: Contract Cheating Special Interest Group (supported by the Higher Education Academy): Slides Available At: Contact Me At: