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 Post subject: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:33 am 
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So, at the weekend the kids were doing their homework and one of them asked for help as he was having problems with an essay. Being quite busy we searched the Internet looking for some ideas and were surprised when we came across websites just like this one http://essayshark.com where you can get someone to write the essay for you. Now when I was at school these things didn't exist...but then, the Internet was relatively new at the time too. I'm interested to see what you think about this subject? Do you think that this is the same as getting a friend to help you with an essay? Or what are your opinions?

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:36 am 
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Well, my first response would be that it doesn't seem to really help your child develop the skills the essay assignment is intended to teach. I wouldn't mind something pedagogic - like a check list of story ideas or models for structuring the essay etc, but having someone actually write the essay for you seems pretty much tantamount to cheating. But maybe there is a value in the site that I am missing.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:48 pm 
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that seems like you're paying people to do your homework for you

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:29 pm 
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There is a lot of it in universities and it is absolutely plagiarism. One of my friend's TA's a course where 80% of the class plagiarized their final assignment. It's a big, big, big deal (like, can get you expelled deal).

And things like this existed before the internet, but it was more of a "my friend's friend will 'help' you with your essay for a fee."

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:35 pm 
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That is definitely cheating.
Also I don't see how that would help the kids at all; no mastery experiences and no learning of useful skills.
If a person lets their kid get someone else to do their homework for them, they show them that they don't think the kids themselves are able to do it, and they teach them that cheating is acceptable.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:35 pm 
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And things that didn't exist before the internet were search engines were professors can search to find out if an essay was plagiarized. Those services are definitely doing homework for you but they also recycle essays so they are easy to figure out if someone cheated by using those services.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:40 pm 
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Cheating, plain and simple.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:42 pm 
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Great way to get in a lot of trouble. Teachers aren't clueless--we know how the kids write and even without the software to detect plagiarism, we can spot almost any copying pretty quickly.

Not to mention extremely unethical.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:47 pm 
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When I helped my nephew with his English essay, I read the book he had to read so we could discuss it and he asked some questions and I gave him some feedback on where he was going with his ideas and that was the extent of my help and I was like a sounding board for his ideas on the topic. I think getting someone to write the material for them defeats the purpose, for sure.

Also, one of the customer feedback responses said the writer they hired was an "excellent thinker". I think if the child thinks through the material and writes it themself, they might become the "excellent thinker" themselves and have no need to hire a writer.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:47 pm 
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I am a high school English teacher and I will also toss in my two cents and say that this is extremely unethical, defeats the purpose of the assignment, and can get a student in big trouble at school. The school likely has an academic honesty policy which should explain what constitutes dishonesty. In most cases it is duplication, corroboration, plagiarism, and falsification.

In addition to how wrong it is, many schools pay for services like TurnItIn that scour the internet and other papers submitted to the database for similarities. Even without those services a teacher can pick up on when the writing isn't the student's. Just a quick google spin can usually turn up similarities for suspicious phrases.

In short...don't do it! Questioning and mind mapping can often help a student who is struggling with a writing assignment. Ask lots of questions, model thinking, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:06 pm 
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seitanicverses wrote:
When I helped my nephew with his English essay, I read the book he had to read so we could discuss it and he asked some questions and I gave him some feedback on where he was going with his ideas and that was the extent of my help and I was like a sounding board for his ideas on the topic. I think getting someone to write the material for them defeats the purpose, for sure.

Also, one of the customer feedback responses said the writer they hired was an "excellent thinker". I think if the child thinks through the material and writes it themself, they might become the "excellent thinker" themselves and have no need to hire a writer.

This!

My dad would help me with written work when I first started writing essays for school. Sometimes (especially for French essays), he would rewrite an entire paragraph and make me explain to him why he made all the changes he did, including fixing grammatical errors, clarity of content, etc... It ended up being way more work than just handing in my work as is, but it taught me to be a much better writer than most of my peers.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:36 am 
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The editing my mom helped me with in high school helped me be a better writer too! But never ever would she just do it for me. Definitely not learning anything that way.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:20 pm 
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I lost all respect for one of my coworkers when she came in one day announcing that a literature assignment was due the next day and she had a)not read "The Scarlet Letter" and b)was openly offering anyone there money to answer the questions for her and when we failed to offer her the help she needed she said, "Oh, I'll get someone at school to do it." This seems no different.

I mean, cheating is bad, but seriously, broadcasting that you are going to do so?

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:06 am 
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In one of my classes, we were doing a group project, and one of the people in my groups just copied a bunch of stuff from Wikipedia and other websites. And he was a physician!


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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:44 am 
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Maybe it's something that happens a lot but that nobody talks about.
I find it all really interesting though. I read this the other day http://essayseek.com/blog/professional-academic-writing-services and it made me think that a: It's not really plagiarism because they are writen to order and are original, and b: Could it not be used as a way to learn how to write essays etc? Maybe somebody has all the knowledge but just hasn't got the ability to out it all together. Is that skill a really useful one that you'll need in the workplace? Not usually, so it seems a shame that someone should be penalised for just lacking that skill. And what better way to learn than seeing your essay, with all of your facts, written how it should be, rather than handing it in and gettting some feedback but having to just keep trying, and making the same mistakes that eventually become bad habits that are hard to shake.
Just a thought.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:50 am 
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No, that site is someone using his/her writing skills to persuade you that plagiarism is ok. As a former professor and current academic librarian, I'm telling you that that shiitake's not ok. There are lots of resources for students who are struggling that do not include the purchase of other people's writing.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:05 am 
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If you really think that it's okay, I would suggest that your child approach their teacher with the idea and see what response they get. If you don't think that is a good idea, that might be your answer about whether or not it's cheating or just a learning tool.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:25 am 
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AnnieB wrote:
Maybe it's something that happens a lot but that nobody talks about.
I find it all really interesting though. I read this the other day http://essayseek.com/blog/professional-academic-writing-services and it made me think that a: It's not really plagiarism because they are writen to order and are original,

I know that plagiarism is often talked about as being "copying" but it's also presenting somebody else's writing as your own. In fact, it can even be presenting your own writing as original. For example, if I wrote an essay about gorillas in English 101 and then was asked to write an essay about any animal I want in English 201 and handed in that same gorilla essay it would be plagiarism.

Quote:
and b: Could it not be used as a way to learn how to write essays etc? Maybe somebody has all the knowledge but just hasn't got the ability to out it all together. Is that skill a really useful one that you'll need in the workplace? Not usually, so it seems a shame that someone should be penalised for just lacking that skill. And what better way to learn than seeing your essay, with all of your facts, written how it should be, rather than handing it in and gettting some feedback but having to just keep trying, and making the same mistakes that eventually become bad habits that are hard to shake.
Just a thought.

I don't mean to be cruel, but I am honestly finding it hard to take this seriously. It makes more sense to you to pay someone money to help you break academic rules in order to get an essay you will probably glance at once than to actually learn how to do the process of writing, getting feedback, editing your writing and resubmitting?

And while it of course depends on what field people are in, it is not unusual in many, many fields to be required to write a report, a proposal, or a summary of work done.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:56 am 
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j-dub wrote:
AnnieB wrote:
Maybe it's something that happens a lot but that nobody talks about.
I find it all really interesting though. I read this the other day http://essayseek.com/blog/professional-academic-writing-services and it made me think that a: It's not really plagiarism because they are writen to order and are original,

I know that plagiarism is often talked about as being "copying" but it's also presenting somebody else's writing as your own. In fact, it can even be presenting your own writing as original. For example, if I wrote an essay about gorillas in English 101 and then was asked to write an essay about any animal I want in English 201 and handed in that same gorilla essay it would be plagiarism.

Quote:
and b: Could it not be used as a way to learn how to write essays etc? Maybe somebody has all the knowledge but just hasn't got the ability to out it all together. Is that skill a really useful one that you'll need in the workplace? Not usually, so it seems a shame that someone should be penalised for just lacking that skill. And what better way to learn than seeing your essay, with all of your facts, written how it should be, rather than handing it in and gettting some feedback but having to just keep trying, and making the same mistakes that eventually become bad habits that are hard to shake.
Just a thought.

I don't mean to be cruel, but I am honestly finding it hard to take this seriously. It makes more sense to you to pay someone money to help you break academic rules in order to get an essay you will probably glance at once than to actually learn how to do the process of writing, getting feedback, editing your writing and resubmitting?

And while it of course depends on what field people are in, it is not unusual in many, many fields to be required to write a report, a proposal, or a summary of work done.
I was just about to post essentially the same thing. I'd also add that if someone else has written it (whether they've been paid to do so or not), it is not "your" essay, even if it manages to incorporate "all of your facts." "Handing it in and gettting some feedback but having to just keep trying" is how education works; if someone is "making the same mistakes that eventually become bad habits that are hard to shake," there are many resources available to help them improve their writing. The way I've always understood it, education is about learning and acquiring new skills and knowledge; if you remove those elements, what's the point of the enterprise?

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:33 am 
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Is this a troll thread! It is, right?

In case it isn't, since you were wondering when anybody ever has to write at work, I can tell you that all my GED classes have always been stuffed full of people who need to be able to write at work, but can't.

They only way to become a good writer is to write (and read things written by people who are good writers).

We've had similar happen at science fairs over the years. You almost feel bad for the kid: parent bought them a project, then the almost adult student has to stand and squirm when asked by judges to explain the project.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:22 pm 
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A few years ago, I took some classes at a community college. One of the classes had an essay and some of the students said they had tried going to the writing center at the college for help and were told it was against the ethical code of the school for the tutors to touch the students papers. They could mark grammatical errors or anything like that. They could answer questions about grammar and give students general tips about essay structure but it was considered plagiarism for them to write anything, even a comment on the paper.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:40 pm 
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Wow, really? No comments? When I worked at the college center, comments were certainly allowed. The writing tutors also sent in a form that detailed what they helped with. That was just for composition classes though, so could be different. Usually students were referred by the professors.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:47 pm 
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lavawitch wrote:
Wow, really? No comments? When I worked at the college center, comments were certainly allowed. The writing tutors also sent in a form that detailed what they helped with. That was just for composition classes though, so could be different. Usually students were referred by the professors.
This is pretty much how it is at my university, too. Not only do I bleed (figuratively) all over my students' first drafts, I also encourage them to visit the writing center for tutoring.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:25 pm 
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lavawitch wrote:
Is this a troll thread! It is, right?

In case it isn't, since you were wondering when anybody ever has to write at work, I can tell you that all my GED classes have always been stuffed full of people who need to be able to write at work, but can't.

They only way to become a good writer is to write (and read things written by people who are good writers).

We've had similar happen at science fairs over the years. You almost feel bad for the kid: parent bought them a project, then the almost adult student has to stand and squirm when asked by judges to explain the project.

And even if you don't have to write at work, there will be innumerable times in your life, both personally and professionally, when you will need to be able to organize your thoughts. Writing and rewriting essays, term papers, etc... teaches you this. Getting your facts together isn't the same thing as being able to do something with them.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you feel about essay help?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:37 pm 
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AnnieB wrote:
And what better way to learn than seeing your essay, with all of your facts, written how it should be, rather than handing it in and getting some feedback but having to just keep trying, and making the same mistakes that eventually become bad habits that are hard to shake.
Just a thought.


But it's not your essay, it's someone else's. You would have turned in someone else's original work so why would you deserve any credit at all? Not to mention the pretty obvious lie that is turning in something with your name as the writer that you didn't write. If the teacher just wanted you to read a good essay, they would've given you a good essay to read.

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