Big universities crack down on cheaters using MyMaster essay writing service
Several Sydney universities caught in a cheating scandal involving students using essay writing services say they are reacting and cracking down on the new method of cheating.
Yesterday, University of Sydney Vice Chancellor Dr Michael Spence said he would personally lead a task force to investigate academic misconduct following new methods of cheating.
The assessment cheat racket involves students paying the MyMaster company to write ghost assignments and take tests online.
Students from 16 different universities have been identified as using the service.
The ABC understands that the university will now be examining how to revise student assessment methods, in order to minimize the chances of students cheating and abusing the system.
One option being considered is having more “classroom exams” to compare with the work that students submit in online assessments.
The University of New South Wales (UNSW) has so far said 19 students have been identified as involved in the fraud scandal.
A spokeswoman said some cases were at the active investigation stage and others were in the process of being decided or under appeal.
She said it was likely the questions would be finalized no later than mid-June.
UNSW is the only university involved that would not expel a student if it was found to have been involved. The maximum penalty is an 18-month suspension.
Forty-three current and recent Macquarie University students have been referred to the university’s discipline committee, with hearings scheduled to be held in the coming weeks.
The university’s deputy vice-chancellor, Professor John Simons, said the university takes issues of academic misconduct very seriously.
“We will spare no effort to establish whether or not there has been cheating,” he said.
Newcastle University has so far penalized 31 students for the fraud scandal.
He said other students who graduated last year but had not yet responded to the cheating allegations were at risk of having their degrees revoked.
The Sydney University of Technology said 15 students have been identified in cheaters so far, with around 60 others still under investigation.
A spokesperson said potential penalties ranged from a low of zero for the subject to permanent exclusion from college.
“The most common sanction would be a one-semester suspension from college, which would be noted on the student’s academic record,” he said.