Outsourcing Assignments? Exposing The Threat Posed By Contract Cheating To The Computing Industry

Wednesday 24 April 2013

6.30pm to 8.00pm, refreshments from 6.30pm, talk at 7.00pm

MC228, University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1LY | Map and directions

Free to attend for both Members & Non-Members

Thomas Lancaster and Robert Clarke

Event details:

Within the computing industry, online outsourcing websites such as freelancer.com bring with them many advantages. Small businesses can use this to get computer solutions, such as websites, produced for them which may otherwise be outside of their reach. Computing contractors can use these sites to find paid projects to work on. However, outsourcing sites also have a murky underside. Many computing students have been observed using these sites to get their assessments produced for them, an activity which has been named contract cheating.

This talk will present the work of Thomas Lancaster and Robert Clarke from Birmingham City University into the challenges posed by contract cheating. They have collected evidence of over 14,000 attempts by students to use online web sites to commit contract cheating since 2005. The talk will explore the mechanisms through which students have been observed contract cheating and the type of work that is outsourced. The extent of the problem will also be examined. The session will be supported throughout by examples. The talk will conclude by looking at the continued challenges faced by educators in ensuring the academic integrity of qualifications awarded to a technologically sophisticated set of students, as well as discussing the potential solutions available within the IT industry as a whole.

Dr. Thomas Lancaster is a Lecturer in Computing at Birmingham City University and is the Course Director for the BSc Computer Science course. Thomas gained his PhD from London South Bank University in 2003, examining the detection of plagiarism in student work. Since then, his research interests have included such diverse areas as social media, employability and plagiarism detection, as well as the wider contract cheating field. Thomas regularly runs workshops on teaching related issues for the Higher Education Academy, and also talks about these topics for the media and presents at other events.

More information about Thomas

Robert Clarke is an Educational Consultant. Robert has worked alongside Birmingham City University for over 30 years, currently as a Visiting Lecturer in Computing and previously holding the post of Principal Lecturer. Robert’s research into contract cheating has been featured worldwide by the media, including a recent interview on the primetime BBC1 News. Robert is available for consultancy and research and can be contacted at robert.clarke@bcu.ac.uk.

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