Video: A look inside an essay mill's Web site

A pretty sophisticated business

Earlier this month I posted a Chronicle of Higher Education piece about the fascinating world of a writer for an essay mill.

The Chronicle has a follow-up: a look at how an essay mill’s Web site works. The site is pretty slick — and the business is global.

(It’s also not showing up, at least when I checked. Try the cached version from Google to get an idea.)

Worth a look is also the follow-up “live chat” the writer has with the Chronicle. It has some eyebrow-raising parts, like this one:

lizmcmillen:

Ed, didn’t you say that you occasionally have parents of students ordering papers for them?

Wednesday November 17, 2010 12:19 lizmcmillen
12:20
Ed:

Absolutely. This proves a simple economic point to me. Parents pay for their child’s tuition, their books, their beer . . .

Wednesday November 17, 2010 12:20 Ed
12:21
Ed:

College is a huge investment. So for parents as much as for students, failing is not an option. It simply costs too much. They would rather see their children succeed in the system than learn or achieve independence. This speaks to a very complicated social problem.

And he says this about a potential solution:

12:36

lizmcmillen:

Several readers want to know what you think should be changed to stop this problem. How, in other words, how would you suggest colleges put you out of work?

Wednesday November 17, 2010 12:36 lizmcmillen

12:39

Ed:

This is a tricky area. I am not an educator, so I am hesitant to offer a wholesale solution to this problem without those qualifications. I only know what I see from my side of things. But based on that, I would again reiterate that grades are killing students. I’ve seen a number of professors respond to my article by insisting that more severe penalties and a greater threat of failure are needed to address this problem. This is exactly the opposite of the point I’m trying to make.

[From a response later on in the interview] … I hope (faculty) will be moved to engage more openly and honestly about why students are so inclined to cheat. There is so much discussion on detection of cheating but I really believe this is a question of motivation. I hope educators can find ways to work around the rigid nature of our educational system and make their students truly want to learn. I know for me, once all the grading and formalities were stripped away, education became a thrill.