I believe students should write their own essays and papers!
I won’t allow links to sites that offer to write any sort of paper for students. And you can’t hire me to write them either.
This came up yesterday when Antonio Tooley sent me a link to Dark Side of Higher Education: Essay Writing Services and Other Villains by Karen Dikson.
Why? Because this site receives two or three ‘offers’ a week from people who want to write ‘an original’ guest post. When I ask what they will be linking to, it’s almost always some sort of site that offers to write essays, papers, and do other work to students so the students don’t have to do it themselves. Karen outlines this practice and the reasons why it’s pretty awful in her article. In fact, I’d say she got the situation exactly right.
No ideas or work of their own
She has another article, Plagiarism: A Time Bomb or the Path to Success? that points to different aspect of the cheating game. It’s there she quotes Nikola Tesla saying: “I don’t care that they stole my idea… I care that they don’t have any of their own.”
This nails precisely my objection to people selling work to students that they should have done themselves. They aren’t learning anything except how to spend money to cheat. So I keep turning down offers.
Offers to write essays for students
I’m also well aware that many of these sites pay writers semi-decent wages to write the essays and papers for the students they convince this kind of expenditure is a good idea.
In the interests of full disclosure, I once worked for a German student who had come to America to get his Ph.D. While his English was certainly better than my German, which extends to a single word command to tell a dog to sit that I can’t even spell, he knew he needed help expressing his ideas clearly in American English. But they were his ideas and I was working with him on his pretty good drafts, adding an American accent if you will. He’d actually written his paper in his native German, then translated it to English. His advisor insisted he get some help which turned out to be me. He offered to help me get more work like that but I hated the academic strictures and requirements, so I passed.
Do you see the distinction here?
The other thing that is obvious to me as a site owner aimed at helping freelance writers is that many young people are truly poor writers. I get offers of guest posts that are amazingly awful. I don’t think I’m being an old codger who remembers how hard school used to be. I do get posts that are well written from young people as well. My hunch is that those who dodged doing their own essay and paper writing are now discovering that writing well is more than making an online purchase.
Do I think this rant or Karen’s will change the practice of students buying essays and more? Probably not although who knows. A friend from high school who follows my facebook posts suggested, in response to my posting of Karen’s article, that students be required to defend essays much like they do PhDs. I don’t know how that would actually work considering how many students are required to write essays, but I loved that someone was at least thinking of solutions.
What do you think? Am I nuts?
Write well and often,