Contract Cheating: An Inter-Institutional Collaborative SoTL Project from Alberta

Our project showcases perspectives from three Alberta post-secondary institutions, using a collaborative action research approach to reflect upon and then develop interventions to advance awareness of, and responses to, contract cheating. Contract cheating includes, but is not limited to essay mills, custom writing services, assignment completion services and professional exam takers. Contract cheating also occurs when parents, partners or another student do the work for a learner. In short, contract cheating happens when students have someone else complete academic work on their behalf, but submit their work as if they had done it themselves. Our project is framed as an action research project that extends SoTL beyond the individual classroom to a broader institutional context. Using narratives, observations and reflection-on-action as data sources, we use informal interventions such as hallway conversations and in-class discussions, designed to help both faculty members and students develop greater awareness about what contract cheating is and why it deserves attention from a teaching and learning perspective. We also discuss institutional action, such as taking part in the International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating, as a formal way to raise awareness about contract cheating in higher education more broadly. We conclude with preliminary practical and evidence-informed recommendations for practitioners, educational developers and decision-makers.
academic integrity, contract cheating, Canada, academic misconduct, academic dishonesty, cheating, higher education
Eaton, S. E., Toye, M. A., Rossi, S., & Chibry, N. (2018). Contract Cheating: An Inter-Institutional Collaborative SoTL Project from Alberta. Paper presented at the 2018 Symposium on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), Banff, AB, Canada.