Cheating reforms come under the microscope
CONTRACT cheating companies that seek out university students and normalise plagiarism should be the ones targeted by new reforms.
That is the opinion of CQUni Tertiary Education Division Provost Helen Huntly who said she had seen some of the advertisements that enticed students to use their services - asking if they were tired, over worked, stressed or busy.
"It makes it sound as if it is OK to give them some money,” she said.
Ms Huntly said proposed new Federal Government legislation could result in authorities charging mums, dads, sisters and friends who proof read and gave advice about an assignment.
She said helpful parties could spend up to two years in jail and pay up to a $210,000 fine.
The legislation, designed to crack down on academic fraudsters, was problematic if it stayed in its current form, Ms Huntly said.
But when the draft legislation was released, Ms Huntly said there was some concern about students getting genuine feedback on their work - which led to the nationwide network of Deputy Vice Chancellors Academic providing feedback to the government.
"When universities realised these contract cheating businesses were targeting our students, we (made) recommendations to the government,” she said.
"We will do everything we can as a sector, but the best deterrent is for there to be a legislation change, which would send a message to these providers of these services they can't get off scot-free.”
Ms Huntly said she believed the people who put together the legislation would not have deliberately targeted people helping students in this way.
"I 100 per cent believe sense will prevail and they will take (our feedback) on board,” she said.
Ms Huntly said she hoped the new legislation would help weed out "unscrupulous providers” who took money to do the students' assignment.
"We will support the legislation as long as it is clear the punishment needs to be for the contract cheating companies where money and services have changed hands,” she said.
Currently, universities around the country have measures in place to deter plagiarism and cheating, with features like Turnitin and programs to help educate students on what plagiarism is and how not to do it.
"The big thing for me is when students graduate from a CQUni degree, (I want to be) assured they have the requisite knowledge or skills. If someone does the work for you, you're not just cheating your employer, you're cheating yourself.”