Archives December 2018

University assignments – why are they cheating?

Students enlist website to write essays, assignmentsStudents buying assignments online could be charged with fraudWho is Yingying Dou, the mastermind behind the site
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Inflated tuition fees, inadequate English skills and crippling family expectations are the most likely reasons international university students are engaging ghost essay writers, experts in international education say.

The MyMaster website, which is at the centre of a major cheating enterprise at Australian universities exposed by Fairfax Media, is understood to be used almost exclusively by students from China.

A flyer posted on the back of a toilet door at UTS gives insight to the anxiety among students.

“Are you racking your brains on your school work? Do you worry about spending $3000 retaking tuition on a failing subject? Leave your worries to MyMaster and make your study easier!” says the flyer in translation.

Numerous attempts to contact students who have used the service were unsuccessful.

But leading academics say the extraordinary fees international students pay – often between $30,000 and $40,000 a year – means studying at an Australian university is a high-stakes game.

 

“There’s often enormous family pressure on these students to do well,” Andrew Norton, the higher education program director at the Grattan Institute, said.

“I’ve heard horrible stories about extended families collectively supporting students in Australia, so the pressure they must feel as a result of these expectations is just enormous.”

He said cultural differences could also be relevant.

 

“In some countries, corruption is just widespread and people don’t view it the same way it’s viewed in Australia,” he said.

The University of Sydney’s advice on teaching international students warns they have “a significant risk of unintentionally plagiarising or failing to comply with academic honesty expectations”.

China now has by far the biggest share of Australia’s international students, at more than a quarter, and only 18 per cent of all international students come from countries where English is the first language.

But the University of Adelaide’s Michelle Picard, an expert in academic integrity and cultural competency, said the problem is often a lack of confidence in using English, rather than inability.

“I think the fear element is the strongest one,” Dr Picard said. “Sometimes they do have severe language difficulties or cultural change difficulties – but more often it’s their lack of confidence.”

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Students enlist MyMaster website to write essays, assignments

Yingying Dou leaves the Sydney premises where she works. Photo: Dominic LorrimerFull investigation: SMH EducationLike SMH Student on FacebookTop 10 known users by institution, by subject and by amount spent
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Thousands of students have enlisted a Sydney company to write essays and assignments for them as well as sit online tests, paying up to $1000 for the service. Their desire to succeed threatens the credibility and international standing of some of our most prestigious institutions.

A Fairfax Media investigation has uncovered a sophisticated online business, which has produced thousands of university assignments and turned over hundreds of thousands of dollars since it began operating in May 2012.

Yingying Dou, a 30-year-old Chinese-born woman, is the sole director of MyMaster Group Pty Ltd, which is behind the website, written in Chinese and aimed at international students. It claims to be the largest essay-writing service in Sydney, with 100 graduate writers from “prestigious universities in Australia” ready to accept jobs at any one time.

A flyer posted to the back of a toilet door at UTS gives insight to the anxiety among international students Ms Dou has capitalised on.

“Are you racking your brains on your school work? Do you worry about spending $3000 retaking tuition on the failing subject? Leave your worries to MyMaster and make your study easier!” the flyer says in translation.

Fairfax Media has seen 700 receipts for direct deposits to the MyMaster bank account, totalling more than $160,000 this year alone – a conservative estimate of the company’s annual income, as students can also pay by cash or PayPal.

Payments range from $13 to $1050 and during busy assessment periods the website receives up to 20 requests a day.

One request lodged was for a 6000-word research assignment for a human rights law course at the University of NSW, which was worth 70 per cent of the student’s overall grade.

The cheating is widespread throughout the state’s university system, with almost 1000 assignments produced this year for students studying courses as diverse as philosophy, economics, law, engineering, astronomy and marketing.

One student spent more than $1500 on assignments for five different courses at the University of Newcastle’s Business School. Another student from the University of Wollongong paid for at least eight assignments.

The University of Sydney, the state’s premier institution, was among the most widely affected, with cheating spread across multiple faculties. During 2014, students from at least 37 of the university’s courses used the service.

The entrepreneur, Yingying Dou, went to high school at Pittwater House, a private school in Collaroy on Sydney’s northern beaches, and studied accounting at Macquarie University.

When approached by Fairfax Media, Ms Dou, who runs a university tutoring company called Yingcredible, would not comment on the MyMaster website.

“If you’re talking about MyMaster, I have nothing to talk [about],” she said. “No comment for today.”

Records show MyMaster and Yingcredible Tutoring are registered to the same principal place of business in Sussex Street in Chinatown. Ms Dou is also the registrant of the mymaster苏州美甲美睫培训学校.au website domain.

Within hours of Fairfax Media approaching Ms Dou, the MyMaster website was taken down.

 

A postgraduate finance student at Macquarie University said the practice of buying assignments online was widespread. On two separate occasions while he was working on a group assignment, international students in the group suggested they purchase the assignment online, rather than do the work themselves.

“I was not keen on that idea. I think people just want to do whatever they can to pass the course at all costs,” he said.

Assignment prices are advertised as a flat rate based on the number of words and the student’s level of qualification, with masters students paying more for assignments than undergraduate or diploma. The flat rates promise students a pass or credit grade, but they can negotiate a price for work that is of a distinction or high distinction quality.

MyMaster recruits its writers on Chinese social media sites, promising good rates and an end-of-year bonus.

In addition to essays, MyMaster customers have paid for business reports, speeches, powerpoint presentations and the completion of online tests, and requests range from short homework tasks to comprehensive research assignments.

Some students uploaded instructions for their ghost writer, explicitly detailing how they wanted their assignment to be completed.

 

They are guaranteed the purchased work is original and will not be detected by the universities’ plagiarism software.

Fairfax Media is aware of numerous websites offering similar services to students in Australia but most appear to be located offshore.

Australia’s international student market is a $15 billion industry and the country’s largest export after iron ore, coal and gold. International students, who often pay more than three times as much as locals for their degrees, generate a quarter of the annual income at some Australian universities.

Key interstate universities have also been ensnared in the scandal including RMIT, La Trobe University, Curtin University and the Queensland University of Technology.

The chief executive of Universities Australia, Belinda Robinson, said universities were aware of operations like MyMaster looking to exploit “a small minority of students seeking an easy path to success”.

“Students caught deliberately attempting to pass others’ work off as their own can be subject to harsh sanctions, up to and including automatic failure of courses and, ultimately, expulsion from the university,” she said.

Do you know more? [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训学校.au

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲美睫培训学校.


Students enlist MyMaster website to write essays, assignments

Yingying Dou leaves the Sydney premises where she works. Photo: Dominic LorrimerFull investigation: SMH EducationLike SMH Student on FacebookTop 10 known users by institution, by subject and by amount spent
苏州美甲美睫培训学校

Thousands of students have enlisted a Sydney company to write essays and assignments for them as well as sit online tests, paying up to $1000 for the service. Their desire to succeed threatens the credibility and international standing of some of our most prestigious institutions.

A Fairfax Media investigation has uncovered a sophisticated online business, which has produced thousands of university assignments and turned over hundreds of thousands of dollars since it began operating in May 2012.

Yingying Dou, a 30-year-old Chinese-born woman, is the sole director of MyMaster Group Pty Ltd, which is behind the website, written in Chinese and aimed at international students. It claims to be the largest essay-writing service in Sydney, with 100 graduate writers from “prestigious universities in Australia” ready to accept jobs at any one time.

A flyer posted to the back of a toilet door at UTS gives insight to the anxiety among international students Ms Dou has capitalised on.

“Are you racking your brains on your school work? Do you worry about spending $3000 retaking tuition on the failing subject? Leave your worries to MyMaster and make your study easier!” the flyer says in translation.

Fairfax Media has seen 700 receipts for direct deposits to the MyMaster bank account, totalling more than $160,000 this year alone – a conservative estimate of the company’s annual income, as students can also pay by cash or PayPal.

Payments range from $13 to $1050 and during busy assessment periods the website receives up to 20 requests a day.

One request lodged was for a 6000-word research assignment for a human rights law course at the University of NSW, which was worth 70 per cent of the student’s overall grade.

The cheating is widespread throughout the state’s university system, with almost 1000 assignments produced this year for students studying courses as diverse as philosophy, economics, law, engineering, astronomy and marketing.

One student spent more than $1500 on assignments for five different courses at the University of Newcastle’s Business School. Another student from the University of Wollongong paid for at least eight assignments.

The University of Sydney, the state’s premier institution, was among the most widely affected, with cheating spread across multiple faculties. During 2014, students from at least 37 of the university’s courses used the service.

The entrepreneur, Yingying Dou, went to high school at Pittwater House, a private school in Collaroy on Sydney’s northern beaches, and studied accounting at Macquarie University.

 

When approached by Fairfax Media, Ms Dou, who runs a university tutoring company called Yingcredible, would not comment on the MyMaster website.

“If you’re talking about MyMaster, I have nothing to talk [about],” she said. “No comment for today.”

Records show MyMaster and Yingcredible Tutoring are registered to the same principal place of business in Sussex Street in Chinatown. Ms Dou is also the registrant of the mymaster苏州美甲美睫培训学校.au website domain.

Within hours of Fairfax Media approaching Ms Dou, the MyMaster website was taken down.

 

A postgraduate finance student at Macquarie University said the practice of buying assignments online was widespread. On two separate occasions while he was working on a group assignment, international students in the group suggested they purchase the assignment online, rather than do the work themselves.

“I was not keen on that idea. I think people just want to do whatever they can to pass the course at all costs,” he said.

Assignment prices are advertised as a flat rate based on the number of words and the student’s level of qualification, with masters students paying more for assignments than undergraduate or diploma. The flat rates promise students a pass or credit grade, but they can negotiate a price for work that is of a distinction or high distinction quality.

MyMaster recruits its writers on Chinese social media sites, promising good rates and an end-of-year bonus.

In addition to essays, MyMaster customers have paid for business reports, speeches, powerpoint presentations and the completion of online tests, and requests range from short homework tasks to comprehensive research assignments.

Some students uploaded instructions for their ghost writer, explicitly detailing how they wanted their assignment to be completed.

They are guaranteed the purchased work is original and will not be detected by the universities’ plagiarism software.

Fairfax Media is aware of numerous websites offering similar services to students in Australia but most appear to be located offshore.

Australia’s international student market is a $15 billion industry and the country’s largest export after iron ore, coal and gold. International students, who often pay more than three times as much as locals for their degrees, generate a quarter of the annual income at some Australian universities.

Key interstate universities have also been ensnared in the scandal including RMIT, La Trobe University, Curtin University and the Queensland University of Technology.

The chief executive of Universities Australia, Belinda Robinson, said universities were aware of operations like MyMaster looking to exploit “a small minority of students seeking an easy path to success”.

“Students caught deliberately attempting to pass others’ work off as their own can be subject to harsh sanctions, up to and including automatic failure of courses and, ultimately, expulsion from the university,” she said.

Do you know more? [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训学校.au

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲美睫培训学校.


Dumping of live animals in sights of Brisbane City Council

Fines for dumping live animals will be adopted at a local level.Dumping live animals in Brisbane City Council bins will attract a fine of more than $4500 in new local laws set to be adopted following Tuesday’s meeting.
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In a strong message to perpetrators of animal cruelty, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the fine would apply under the new Health, Safety and Amenity Amending Local Law to individuals who dumped live animals in council bins.

The new law marks the transfer of laws governing council bin use from the State Government to the council jurisdiction and was set to be debated at last week’s council meeting before being controversially pulled at the last minute, without explanation.

The reason, the Lord Mayor said, was to correct an oversight that would have made the penalty for binning animals just more than $1000, or 10 penalty units, as opposed to the $4554, or 40 penalty units, that was passed after debate on Tuesday.

“I didn’t want to see a reduction in a fine that would have essentially amounted to cruelty to animals,” he said.

“What the effect of the change would have done was reducing it to 10 penalty points and I was not prepared to see that go through.

“I was insistent we withdraw it when we picked it up because in the end it’s about maintaining a strong message we will not see the reduction in penalty to those people who knowingly put a live animal in a bin.”

The council’s field services chairman David McLachlan said the dumping of live animals in bins was not a “significant issue” but the local law was a straight transfer from the state to local level.

“Simplicity was key, so we took state law and rewrote it as local law,” he said.

“I don’t believe it’s a significant issue but it existed under state law so it continues to exist under council law, we haven’t made any adjustment.”

He said without the increase, there was concern the council would be perceived as softening its views on animal cruelty, if the fines remained at just more than $1000.

“The Lord Mayor was concerned it would have provided the appearance that with live things being put into bins, there was a reduction in concern as an offence,” he said.

“We did not want to provide the perception that there had been a reduction in our concern for the treatment of live animals.”

Opposition Leader Milton Dick attacked the sudden withdrawal of the item from last week’s agenda without explanation, describing it as “an embarrassing stuff-up”.

“It’s embarrassing that this council, when we asked innocent questions last week, couldn’t explain,” he said.

“What procedures are put in place to prevent this happening again?

“I thank The Lord Mayor for cleaning up after Cr McLachlan.

“The laws we pass here, we are supposed to be on top of, and have impacts on our service providers, residents, ratepayers and staff.

“In future, I want to make sure the this sloppy and ad hoc approach doesn’t happen again.”

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Students buying assignments online could be charged with fraud

Yingying Dou, director of the MyMaster website. Photo: Dominic LorrimerStudents enlist website to write essays, assignmentsUniversity assignments – why are they cheating? Who is Yingying Dou, the mastermind behind the site
苏州美甲美睫培训学校

Students who pay essay writing services to complete their university assignments are not only breaching university plagiarism protocols but could also be charged with fraudulent conduct under NSW legislation, legal experts say.

As a Fairfax Media investigation reveals, essay-writing services offered by the Chinese-language website MyMaster are  at the centre of a widespread academic cheating scandal, potentially incriminating hundreds of students at almost every university in NSW.

David Caruso, the director of the litigation law unit at the University of Adelaide, says students who used MyMaster’s services could potentially “fall foul of laws relating to dishonesty and gaining advantages and benefits via deception”.

“The student is certainly doing something which I think one can characterise as misleading from the point of view of the student’s relationship with the university,” Mr Caruso said.

The offences of fraud and forgery, both of which carry maximum penalties of 10 years imprisonment under NSW criminal law, are among the more serious provisions triggered by the students’ conduct, lawyer and fraud expert Robert Wyld said.

 

While such offences would be “challenging” to prove they were “not beyond the realm of possibilities”, Mr Wyld said.

Although companies such as MyMaster facilitated large-scale academic cheating, authorities had few legal avenues to shut down the service, the experts said.

“With respect to competition and consumer protection as well as criminal law it’s not easy to prosecute a company such as this,” Mr Caruso said.

Universities would also have difficulty in bringing a fraud claim against the MyMaster company, Mr Wyld said, as there was “no direct relationship between the university and the website provider”, and because the company had been “upfront in what they provide”.

“They [MyMaster] will no doubt say they did nothing wrong and any student knows they must submit their own work, which means of course the answers prepared by the website provider would have to be substantially modified by the student to make the work the student’s own work.”

In addition to the potential legal ramifications, universities have academic dishonesty and plagiarism protocols in place which impose severe penalties against students found to have procured  “ghost writing” services to complete their assignments.

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