Thursday, September 29, 2011

Academia Disrupted

Many, many years ago, before I became a quilter, before I went to seminary, before I had children, way back when, I was engaged in a vocation that I believe is now obsolete.  We lived in a small town that was the home to a big university, and I typed papers for students.  I prepared all kinds of manuscripts from basic 10-page research papers all the way to Ph.D. dissertations in fields as diverse as education, music history, and physics.  Obviously I read every word, and over the years, I received a vast and diverse education.

The book pictured to the left (the 3rd and 4th editions, back then) was affectionately called "Turabian," and along with copies of the MLA and APA style guides, was my bible.  I enjoyed my work.  I liked meeting with the students, learning what they had to share, and making sure that everything in the paper was precisely "according to Turabian."  Once I even received a personal letter from Kate after I'd written her to question the punctuation in one of the examples in the book. 

I always asked my customers if setting up the footnotes and bibliography were a part of what they would be graded on (for example, in the "Introduction to Educational Research" class, formatting of these pieces was part of the learning process), and if not, and they found the process intolerable, I would offer to set them up for twenty-five cents per entry.  I loved my job.  Especially with the Ph.D. candidates, I loved being a part of their contribution to the Body of Knowledge.

This morning I was reading a quilter's blog and noticed a comment from "custom term papers" who wrote, "Cool!  Thanks for the post."  I believed it to be a canned comment from a nonquilter who was looking to draw traffic to his/her own site, and it seems I was right.  And look what it is!  A "hire it done" place for the writing of research papers, theses, and even dissertations.  And "personal statements."  Academic fakery rather than academic integrity -- even to the stock photos and trumped up quotes -- that I found utterly appalling.

Thank God Kate isn't alive to witness this travesty of scholarship.


7 comments:

Janet O. said...

Isn't it sad. You just have to hope that the next new professional you hire or turn to in a time of need didn't get their "degree" in such a manner!

Bonnie said...

I couldn't believe that such a site existed. And they claim no plagiarism!

Yuki said...

Wow, that was interesting. I've heard of people doing that but good grief, it would sure take a long time to post on every single blog.

ttfn :) Yuki

Anonymous said...

Surely that's fraud? BTW I also typed student papers and theses.
Lurking Linda

Pat said...

I guess if you have the money to do it, you can alway buy a degree. The purchased term paper industry has always been around, but it's frightening to see how technology has made it so much more available.

OT Quilter said...

Very scary, isn't it?
Now many schools use Turn-It-In, a service that scans student work for possible plagiarism.
My college had an Honor System. I wonder how many schools have that any more.

Judi said...

Is it just me.....if I were a real student who had signed up for this fraud, would I want a (very professional) picture of myself and my comments on their website?

I wonder how much they are just "cheating the cheaters"