On PBS. It was awesome (and I use that term loosely)! You remember the one, a group of kids would get clues from a ghost who could only rearrange letters that were available in their settings (hence, Ghostwriter) that helped them solve mysteries?
Well as posted over on the Southern Fried Science page, there is a disturbing trend in American colleges and universities. Apparently, a lot, and I mean A LOT of students are utilizing ghostwriters. And yes, if you guessed that ghostwriters are not ghosts who communicate by rearranging letters like the old show, than you are right! Apparently, companies generate large amounts of money by employing teams of writers to write any paper on any subject, from proposals to term papers to full theses, all for a fee. It seems as though more and more students are utilizing these “resources.” This was highlighted in a first person expose of sorts, in a blog post to the Chronicle of Higher Education (A+ for being another Chronicle!), entitled The Shadow Scholar, one of these ghostwriters speaks up. Its an interesting story, and makes you stop to think. How big is this problem? How do we address it? Who is to blame?
I’ll just leave you with this quote from the article to entice you to check it out if you have not yet already:
“You’ve never heard of me, but there’s a good chance that you’ve read some of my work. I’m a hired gun, a doctor of everything, an academic mercenary. My customers are your students. I promise you that. Somebody in your classroom uses a service that you can’t detect, that you can’t defend against, that you may not even know exists.”