Increased access to online courses has led a rise of paid services which will impersonate students, and complete their work for them.
When I was in highschool, I cheated quite frequently. I mean, all the times. I can remember writing chemistry formulas onto small pieces of paper and sealing them with transparent tape at the bottom of my dress shoes. The information I needed was in my lap when I crossed them.
It was before the Internet revolutionized education. Cheating seems to have become more common with online education. Today, freelancers and entrepreneurs openly advertise services that can help students cheat their online educations. These digital cheaters can even assume students' identities to take online classes.
I reached out to No Need to Study to inquire if the company could host an online English Literature class for me at Columbia University. I received an email response from one of its customer-relations personnel. He said that the company could not only get me a ringer, but could also guarantee my grade of B or better. I was told that such arrangements cost $1,225.15.
It seemed official with the additional fifteen cents.
I asked for more information about the company to make sure I understood its services. I received a crystal clear response: "We offer the service of a pool o academic tutors to take classes for our clients and complete coursework for them."
No Need to Study even includes reference videos showing satisfied clients talking about how easy it was to pay for their online classes. Muhammad, a client of No Need to Study, shares his story about how he hired this company to do his math lab course for him. He notes that he'd previously taken these classes but that "the quizzes weren't too hard" so he started looking for a solution. He adds, "They did it well, and they got it done." "They completely destroyed my final math classes and app classes with an incredible 90 percent. I can honestly say I have never had a 90 percent on anything before."
There is no direct correlation between the growth of online education and an increase in online cheating. More online classes equals more cheating students. According to the 2014 Online Learning Survey about a third all higher-education students in the U.S. have enrolled online. There are almost 7,000,000 students who take at least 1 online class. Others put it at a lower number, with only a fourth percent of total student populations. That's a lot of potential customers, for those who are looking to offer cheating services.
Already online education is poised to become a $100 million global industry. It is possible to make it even bigger if employers see online degrees as having more credibility. An online education marketplace can transform higher education. It could make it possible for online degrees and certifications attain the same status as on-campus, traditional degrees. Some online education advocates believe this is exactly what they want. Kevin Carey (an online-education supporter) wrote about the quest for online educational credibility in March in a New York Times editorial titled, “Here's What Will Truly Modify Higher Education: Official Online Degrees.”