Camp NaNoWriMo word count: 23,804 as of 6:20am on Monday, 15 April 2019
EMD word count at 74,883—revision begins later today!
Bibi Andersson died. I had to go look up all my favorites of her films. The Seventh Seal. Babette’s Feast.
I am reading Ada Limón’s poems. My goal yesterday was to submit something, and I managed two story submissions. I made a single document of three poems. I looked up submission requirements for a favorite journal, and they will go out in the mail today. Then, we went to a birthday party, came home, and I made dinner, and began work on outlining what I need to do to the novel. Oh! And I worked a bit on the new Louise DeFleur story!
In the mean time, I am reading other news.
“Buying College Essays Is Now Easier Than Ever. But Buyer Beware” by Tovia Smith reveals the flood of ghost-written essays showing up on college campuses:
“As the recent college admissions scandal is shedding light on how parents are cheating and bribing their children’s way into college, schools are also focusing on how some students may be cheating their way through college. Concern is growing about a burgeoning online market that makes it easier than ever for students to buy essays written by others to turn in as their own work. And schools are trying new tools to catch it.”—Mind/Shift <https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/53446/buying-college-essays-is-now-easier-than-ever-but-buyer-beware?>
The author is right that this has long been a problem, as has the rationale for cheating. “ ‘Technically, I don’t think it’s cheating,’ the student says. ‘Because you’re paying someone to write an essay, which they don’t plagiarize, and they write everything on their own.’ ”
Catching cheaters is an enormous challenge. I have caught students cheating because the writing was too polished for that student, because they submitted an essay in the wrong font or format (APA instead of MLA), because the student left traces of their source, or because the subject matter of a story was entirely unlikely (first person from an elderly woman in east London? please). Once I caught them, I had to prove that they were guilty.
I routinely verified sources in research papers, demanded that hard copies of their sources be turned in with the paper, and since I also required student to write on demand at least once a week in class, I had a general sense of how they thought and how they constructed sentences and argument.
There have been examples of cheating I am certain I missed. (I was unable to prove one case of suspected cheating because the source was well disguised. I could not prove it, however certain I was.) I am not at all confident that I could prove what I suspected was a ghost-written essay, though new software can catch inconsistencies of style and sources.
Smith is right about the solution. Ethical behavior is an essential value. Another is recognizing that education is not gained through grades and credits but through learning and experience. Bluffing and cheating through school means that someone else learned and someone else had the experience. It is the waste of educational opportunity.
And there was the party!