The use of essay mills is a big problem (“Make trouble for the essay mills”, Opinion, 1 September), and the sector as a whole seems to be in denial.
It’s becoming a minor epidemic at my institution, especially with international taught master’s students and dissertations. It is time-consuming and resource-intensive to pursue custom written work through misconduct panels – and the sanctions are far too weak to provide a deterrent. Exams are part of the answer, but coursework has real value in many disciplines and is arguably (if correctly designed) a better driver and test of student learning.
The key question here is: Why hasn’t there been stronger action against essay mills from the government, the Quality Assurance Agency and universities? Or perhaps we shouldn’t ask.