Many websites, including Montreal-based Unemployedprofessors.com, allow students to pay for custom writing assignments. On these websites, students can buy essays, term papers, lab reports and presentations. They also provide tutoring for select subjects. However, these sites have generated some controversy due to the integrity of the services they provide.
According to Unemployedprofessors.com, which launched in 2011, all the assignments are written by “grad students who teach their own classes, with advanced graduate degrees and verified credentials.” The assignments are guaranteed to be custom-made and include citations, a full bibliography and anything else the assignment requires.
There are a number of other custom essay websites based internationally.
The University of Calgary’s definition of plagiarism is “the deliberate attempt to deceive the reader through the appropriation and representation of one’s own work with the words of others.”
U of C associate vice-provost enrolment David Johnston said using these services would fall directly under the university’s definition of plagiarism.
“It definitely is plagiarism. It comes under the first condition of plagiarism that the university describes as submitting someone else’s work as your own,” said Johnston. “If or when a student is caught plagiarizing, they have to face the consequences, which are faculty-based.”
Johnston said sites like this do not last.
“Students figure out pretty quickly that they’re not as cracked up as to be as they seem,” he said.
While the website does not guarantee their customers an A, the papers are promised to be of high quality. Unemployed- professors.com states that they offer “custom research tailored to the consumer’s needs and are just transferring copyright research that they have done in exchange for a fee.”
First-year U of C biological sciences student Miranda Mills said using such a service defies the point of getting a university education.
“I think it’s really, really weird. The entire point of writing an essay or doing school assignments is to learn and essays are an opportunity to give your opinion,” said Mills. “It’s important to get grades for what you’ve done. Paying someone else to do it seems wrong.”
The website claims “the contemporary educational system [is] a scam, a charade as professors can only stay in business if they force students to write essays within their discipline that are of no use to the students’ education.”
However, third-year U of C biological sciences and English student Zac Gillrie said that the services offered by Unemployedprofessors.com is immoral.
“I wouldn’t trust someone else to write my papers for me. Obviously, this is a plagiarism issue, which is not good. You’re not really going to learn anything from it,” said Gillrie. “Papers really aren’t that hard, and there are a lot of free marks if you try.”
Johnston said if students are facing issues with assignments, there are many university services available, like Writing Support at the Student Success Centre.
“Plan your academic term appropriately and if you are having difficulty meeting your deadlines, seek assistance from the many services the university has to offer,” said Johnston.