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This seminar considered the next steps for tackling contract cheating in higher education, examining the role of universities, students, regulators and legislators in the process.
Delegates discussed the merits of various approaches used by universities for preventing contract cheating, looking at addressing the motives which drive students to pay for essays, improving academic support for students and strategies for embedding good practice. Those attending also assessed the effectiveness of tailored assessment design through the setting of assignments which are harder to reproduce in a standard format by essay mills and disrupting online advertising, particularly on social media platforms.
Attendees also discussed measures aimed at detecting malpractice, considering the effectiveness of technological solutions involving textual analyses of writing styles, encouraging active online searching and teacher vigilance.
Further sessions assessed how far current fraud legislation and advertising regulations can be used to curb the activities of essay mills. Delegates drew on lessons from international comparisons to consider how new legislation might work to curb essay mill activity, addressing the challenge of creating legislation that is comprehensive and deals with jurisdictional issues but does not threaten legitimate study aids, tutoring and proofreading services.