Agencies charge between $600 and $1,500 to complete an entire module, including assessments
代课评估后完成整个模块的费用在 600 美元到 1,500 美元之间
Contract cheating services have taken advantage of the shift to online teaching by offering to take entire modules for students, including attending classes, completing assignments, and sitting exams.
Online searches reveal several pages of advertisements from essay mills targeting Chinese students who are taking courses from overseas universities, with services tailored for Zoom classes and online coursework.
在线搜索显示，论文工厂的几页广告针对在海外大学学习课程的中国学生，为 Zoom 课程和在线课程提供量身定制的服务。
One company offers services that cover the entire journey of an online course, including discussions, assignments and exams. Another agency has different packages for students to choose from, with options including one-stop coaching and assistance throughout an online or blended module.
Asked about the cost of taking Zoom classes for a student, a customer service representative of one company told Times Higher Education: “If there is just moderate amount of homework, the cost should be from $100 (£72) to $150 per week – it depends on the quotation of the writer and the course syllabus.” Another agency said it charged between $600 and $1,500 for a whole module.
当被问及为学生参加 Zoom 课程的费用时，一家公司的客户服务代表告诉《泰晤士报高等教育》：“如果家庭作业量适中，那么每周的费用应该从 100 美元（72 英镑）到 150 美元不等。取决于作者的引文和课程大纲。”另一家机构表示，它对整个模块的收费在 600 到 1,500 美元之间。
Agencies try to ease potential clients’ concern about being caught by offering help with communications. One service provider claims that its writers will draft emails for students and, if lecturers have any questions, “all you need to do is to forward the email”.
Thomas Lancaster, a senior teaching fellow at Imperial College London and an expert in contract cheating, said that essay mills had offered to complete entire programmes of assessment for several years now, but that the Covid-driven shift to online learning meant that “the availability of this service has come up in the discussion”.
伦敦帝国理工学院的高级教学研究员、合同作弊方面的专家托马斯·兰卡斯特 (Thomas Lancaster) 表示，几年来，论文工厂已经提出完成整个评估程序，但 Covid 驱动的网课意味着“现在discussion也提供了这项服务”。
According to Chinese media, an undercover reporter received 10 orders in one day after joining a coaching company. The journalist was told that the firm’s business was “exploding” during the pandemic.
Phillip Dawson, associate director of the Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning at Deakin University, said that addressing this type of misconduct “will require a mix of positive academic integrity and adversarial assessment security”.
“Positive approaches, like educating students on the problems with these services, are essential,” Professor Dawson said. “One approach to securing real-time activities like exams is high-quality biometrics that verify the student is who they say they are, like matching students’ typing, voice or face to data that has been collected under controlled conditions.”
But he admitted that trying to stop people from “wilfully giving their identity away” was very hard.
Dr Lancaster said that universities “need to know the correct people are accessing their systems to avoid all the cybersecurity risks that come from allowing contract cheating providers access to their intellectual property”.
However, Professor Dawson added: “If teaching stays on Zoom, cheating will be there as well.”
然而，道森教授补充说：“如果教学继续在 Zoom 上进行，作弊也会存在。”