Contract Cheating in Alberta: Quick Facts

Quick facts about contract cheating in Alberta, Canada – 1 page downloadable resource

  • Other terms used to refer to this industry have been “term paper mills”, “essay mills”, “academic consultation services”, or “academic research services”. It is an illicit industry whose main business is providing the means for students to engage in academic misconduct by doing school work on behalf of the student. “Contract cheating” is now the preferred term worldwide.
  • Contract cheating services have been operating for decades. The first known media coverage about term paper mills in Alberta appeared in the Calgary Herald on February 24, 1972.
  • The contract cheating industry is valued at over $15 Billion USD.
  • This is a predatory industry. In 2021 the Better Business Bureau issued a scam alert about contract cheating companies that engage in extortion and blackmail of students who use their services. The industry shares some parallels with organized crime.
  • The Alberta Council on Academic Integrity estimates that over 7,000 Alberta post-secondary students are lured in by contract cheating companies every year. These companies advertise to students as homework help. Their websites look legitimate which can be both confusing and tempting for students.
  • Nearly all textbook answer keys and exam bank solutions can be found on these websites. Most instructor-created assignments and suggested solutions can be found within a week of the assignment being released.
  • Currently no data exist about the number of students in Alberta who are subjected to extortion or blackmail by contract cheating companies. We have anecdotal reports that students at many of Alberta’s post-secondary institutions have been subjected to extortion.
  • Contract cheating is not currently illegal in Canada. It is illegal in several US states, Australia, and New Zealand. It is illegal for contract cheating companies to advertise their services in Ireland. Legislation has been tabled in the UK to make contract cheating illegal there.
  • Although contract cheating companies face no consequences for providing these services, students who are caught often face severe sanctions.
  • The Alberta Council on Academic Integrity provides education and advocacy around contract cheating in our province.

References:

Better Business Bureau. (2021, April 2). BBB Scam Alert: Cheating on homework leads to extortion scam. https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/24032-bbb-scam-alert-students-hire-homework-help-and-end-up-in-extortion-con

Eaton, S. E. (2021, June 22). Contract Cheating in Canada: How it Started and How it’s Going. Paper presented at the Canadian Symposium on Academic Integrity (CSAI) 2021 (Online), Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC, Canada. http://hdl.handle.net/1880/113525

Grue, D., Eaton, S. E., & Boisvert, S. (2021). Parallels Between the Contract Cheating Industry and Organized Crime. http://hdl.handle.net/1880/113323

Download this resource as a 1-page handout:ACAI Contract Cheating in Alberta- Quick Facts (2021-09)

Cite this resource as:

Eaton, S. E., & Boisvert, S. (2021, September). Contract Cheating in Alberta: Quick Facts. Alberta Council on Academic Integrity: Contract Cheating Working Group. https://albertaacademicintegrity.wordpress.com/

Resource: Parallels Between the Contract Cheating Industry and Organized Crime

The global contract cheating industry is worth billions of dollars. It includes, but is not limited to essay mills, term paper mills, thesis-writing services, unethical tutoring, and unethical file-sharing. The industry shares characteristics with organized crime. This resource shows some of the parallels between the commercial contract cheating industry and organized crime.

Alberta Council on Academic Integrity (ACAI) logo 2021

Members of the Contract Cheating Working Group of the Alberta Council on Academic Integrity have developed a new open access resource, “Parallels Between the Contract Cheating Industry and Organized Crime”.

Abstract:

The global contract cheating industry is worth billions of dollars. It includes, but is not limited to essay mills, term paper mills, thesis-writing services, unethical tutoring, and unethical file-sharing. The industry shares characteristics with organized crime. This resource shows some of the parallels between the commercial contract cheating industry and organized crime.

This resource is available as a free downloadable resource:

Microsoft Word – ACAI Contract Cheating and Organized Crime 2021-04.docx

Authors: Dustin Grue (NorQuest College, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), Sheryl Boisvert (NorQuest College, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), & Sarah Elaine Eaton (University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada)

Cite this resource as:
Grue, D., Eaton, S. E., & Boisvert, S. (2021). Parallels Between the Contract Cheating Industry and Organized Crime. Parallels Between the Contract Cheating Industry and Organized Crime. Alberta Council on Academic Integrity: Contract Cheating Working Group. http://hdl.handle.net/1880/113323

Webinar re-cap: Proctoring online exams – Experiences in Alberta

Here’s a re-cap of our webinar on proctoring of online exams.

On 22 July 2020 we hosted “Proctoring online exams – Experiences in Alberta”. The webinar was hosted by Margaret Toye (Bow Valley College), Steering Committee Member for the Alberta Council on Academic Integrity.

Panelists included:

  • Kimberley Hogarth (Bow Valley College)
  • Sarah Elaine Eaton (University of Calgary)
  • Paul Sopcak (MacEwan University)

You can access a recording of the webinar here:

Stay tuned for our next webinar, coming in August.

Academic Integrity: Combating Systemic Racism

One-page resource to help educate people about systemic racism and academic integrity.

After releasing the Alberta Council on Academic Integrity’s Statement Against Racism, we have received requests for educational materials and resources. We offer , “Academic Integrity – Combating Racism” as an introductory one-page resource.