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IT Students Contract Out Coursework To India 642

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-gotta-be-kidding-me dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Students studying computing in the UK and US are outsourcing their university coursework to graduates in India and Romania. Work is being contracted out for as little as £5 on contract coding websites usually used by businesses. Students are outsourcing everything from simple coursework to full blown final year dissertations. It's causing a major headache for lecturers who say it is almost impossible to detect." The irony, of course, is that if they actually get jobs in the sector, this will be how they actually work anyway.
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IT Students Contract Out Coursework To India

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  • Just deserts... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blahplusplus (757119) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:09AM (#23948575)

    ... this is what you get in a competitive society where anyone will do their damndest to avoid poverty.

    • by ettlz (639203) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:14AM (#23948677) Journal
      Are there deserts in India? I'm sure there aren't any in Romania.
    • Re:Just deserts... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by apodyopsis (1048476) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:19AM (#23948761)
      Really?

      I would of phrased that another way.

      ..this is what you get in a society when everybody believes that they deserve everything and yet everybody is unwilling to do any hard work.

      • Outsourcing in general is caused by the minimum wage. Companies are able to get cheaper labor outside the country, and we end up paying more through transport costs than we would if there was no minimum wage.
        • by arivanov (12034) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:44AM (#23949115) Homepage

          Who told you that this is outsourcing?

          Farming out homework is something that has been going on since the days when the only thing that was studied in Heidelberg was theology.

          There is nothing particularly new and surprising here except Internet enabling the homework to be farmed out further afield.

          Further to this, a f2f examination can determine if the homework is real or not real in a matter of seconds. So anyone bitching about the practice becoming more prevalent should actually bitch about tests and assignments replacing good old f2f examination.

          • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @11:56AM (#23950249)

            Why would it not be outsourcing? Outsourcing refers to anything that you pay someone else to do instead of doing it yourself. It's only in bizarro-world Slashdot land that "outsourcing" has this ridiculously specific definition of "recent activities involving paying overseas software companies instead of using in-house programmers".

          • by CheShACat (999169) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @11:59AM (#23950295) Homepage Journal

            nothing particularly new and surprising here except Internet enabling the homework to be farmed out further afield.
            And cheaper! In my day I used to get at least £20 for doing assignments ;) If the Romanians had been undercutting by that much when I was at Uni I would have starved :(
          • DO the math (Score:5, Insightful)

            by kcdoodle (754976) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @02:18PM (#23952849)
            I taught "Advance Application Development and Design" at Senior level at a major State University.
            We had 13 weeks, twice a week and a few holidays.
            So I got to see the student who did not skip class 24 times.

            In that time I gave 10 Quizzes, 2 Tests and 5 Projects to a usual 35 students.
            Quizzes and Tests were pretty easy to make, grade and prevent cheating.

            Projects are another thing altogether. Each student project takes about an hour to find, run, test, grade and provide feed back on. Each project can be turned in multiple time by students. When all the hours are calculated, I was making about $2/hr.
            Now you want me to see you separately? Sure, all you need to do is ask. No one EVER asked. I would even cruise the labs looking for my students so I could help. Only a few times was this fruitful.
            Because of rampant cheating, I started giving different, but similar projects to the students. A lot more student struggled, and more assignments were late, a few more failed, and my grading time was greatly increased.
            I got tired of students who feel entitled to a passing grade if they take a class, and who feel entitled to a good grade if the attend more than half of them, so I quit.

            When I was a student, I had a full time job and paid for school myself. Other student were joyous when an instructor canceled class. I, of course, was angry for not getting my money's worth.
          • by mazarin5 (309432) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @04:00PM (#23955505) Journal

            I know it's been prevalent for as long as I've been freelancing. The end of the spring semester is always a time to pick up quick cash. Suddenly, there are 100 people who need trivial work done, desperately need it in less than 48 hours, and have seemingly inexhaustible funds with which to buy my services.

            I always make sure to include excessively thorough comments and a boilerplate explanation of the basic algorithm, so they can defend their work if necessary. I would like to think that they learn the subject after all.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:51AM (#23949215)

          Funny, child labor laws, weekends, 40 hour work weeks, worker safety laws, and clean air/clean water laws do the same thing. These things all drive up the cost of labor and push down productivity.

          Maybe for the US to remain competitive, we should repeal those laws that prevent Americans from being truly competitive in the global economy. If it takes our kids working in coal mines 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, so be it. The first goal of American government is to protect the profitability of domestic and foreign businesses, and all these laws are standing in the way of this. /sarcasm off

          • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @11:15AM (#23949635)
            "If it takes our kids working in coal mines 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, so be it."

            Pithy, frightening scenarios backed up by no evidence or rationale whatsoever should be disregarded no matter how frightening.

            "The first goal of American government is to protect the profitability of domestic and foreign businesses"

            Actually the first and only goal of the government should be to uphold the rights of its citizenry, but feel free to continue to mischaracterize.
            • by DM9290 (797337) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @11:52AM (#23950203) Journal

              "If it takes our kids working in coal mines 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, so be it."

              Pithy, frightening scenarios backed up by no evidence or rationale whatsoever should be disregarded no matter how frightening.

              "The first goal of American government is to protect the profitability of domestic and foreign businesses"

              Actually the first and only goal of the government should be to uphold the rights of its citizenry, but feel free to continue to mischaracterize.

              When something like the industrial revolution and political economics is so widely documented there is no need for anyone to waste time rehashing the evidence on some online blog for the amusement of people who are too lazy to do their basic homework. Why don't you get your head out of Thomas Pains ass and pay attention to the actual world.

              The poster was not saying what the goal of the American government SHOULD BE, he was saying what the goal of the American government ACTUALLY IS.

              If America was so concerned about protecting human rights, it wouldn't spend so much time trying to privatize absolutely everything, deny global warming, and try to impose democracy with a gun on others. And and don't forget about preventing non-coalition countries from bidding on reconstruction contracts in Iraq. No.. that's not essentially a scheme to raise the cost of reconstruction and increase profits for american companies at the expense of Iraqi citizens.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Quasar Sera (838279)
            I don't know if it says more about me or about Slashdot that I took your comment seriously (and got seriously angry) until you stated explicitly that you were being sarcastic.
        • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:52AM (#23949249)
          Let me guess, you've never really been in poverty. The minimum wage exists for the same reason as usury laws. Desperate people get taken advantage of. Which is not ok. It's all very easy to prattle on about market forces and everyone being free to not take a job when you've never been in a situation where you need money to get to the end of the month without starving or ending up on the street. If you follow your logic forcing employers to minimum safety standards also makes it more profitable to set up somewhere without such standards. But the workers are perfectly free to work somewhere where they won't get maimed by the machinery. Right? No need for laws on working conditions. Personally I'm not mad on the idea of giving employers the chance to pay sweatshop wages. Outsourcing in general is not caused by the minimum wage.Outsourcing in general is caused by the existance of countries which lack of any kind of workers rights, minimum wage or safety standards.
        • by blueg3 (192743) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @11:02AM (#23949429)

          In general, outsourcing is caused by labor being cheaper in a different area.

          A minimum wage is one specific reason (not general) why labor might be cheaper in one area than another.

          Of course, unless you're implying that the minimum wage significantly influences the wages of workers who earn well above the minimum wage, much outsourcing (like IT outsourcing) isn't caused by minimum wage.

      • Re:Just deserts... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:37AM (#23949019)

        >..this is what you get in a society when everybody believes that they deserve everything and yet everybody is unwilling to do any hard work.

        Funny, I would have said this is what you get in a society that values a piece of paper over hard work.

        You can work 10x harder, 10x faster, and 10x smarter than the guy next to you, but if you didn't finish high-school/college/university, you won't get the better job.

      • Re:Just deserts... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday June 26, 2008 @11:02AM (#23949419) Homepage

        I would have said something more like:

        ... this is what you get in a competitive society where everyone is taught that "work" is an evil thing to be avoided at all costs.

        That assumes we're talking about the US of course. We Americans are really proud of our work ethic, yet we teach our children that work is evil, struggling is stupid, and the ideal situation is one where everyone is handed everything on a silver platter.

        Really, if you look at what's being taught by parents and by the public school system, that's one of the chief messages we send to our kids. It wasn't until I got into college (a small private college) that I realized that there was actually value in the work itself. That sometimes (particularly in education) end-result (i.e. good grades and eventually a degree) isn't the most important thing.

        I mean, you listen to people talk, and they talk about how college is great because it opens so many doors, and a college diploma provides so many opportunities. That's all backwards. College is great because it is, in itself, a great opportunity to learn how to work your ass off in a grown-up environment, but before consequences really come into play. If you're not working your ass off, you're missing out on the best opportunity college can provide.

        • Re:Just deserts... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @12:01PM (#23950343)

          College is great because it is, in itself, a great opportunity to learn how to work your ass off in a grown-up environment, but before consequences really come into play. If you're not working your ass off, you're missing out on the best opportunity college can provide.
          That's the dumbest thing I've heard all day. If this is the best opportunity that college can provide, there's no reason to go. Get a job! Then you can not only learn how to work your ass off in a grown-up environment, you can get paid for it too!

          The point of college is to gain an education and grow intellectually. Learning how to get stuff done is certainly part of it, but it's not the only, or even the biggest, part of it. If that's all you need then there's no need to pay for the experience.

      • Re:Just deserts... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by zifn4b (1040588) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @11:09AM (#23949545)

        ..this is what you get in a society when everybody believes that they deserve everything and yet everybody is unwilling to do any hard work.

        I disagree. I think what's happening is that society is becoming wise to common business practices. They realize that businesses have absolutely no loyalty to their employees. The employees at a company are merely a means to generate shareholder value. Make no mistake, they will cut your benefits, lay you off, not follow through on promises if it's in the interest of their bottom line.

        State and Federal governments are really no different. For the most part, they placate the masses just enough to move their own agendas forward whether they're in your best interest of not.

        This is raising a generation of people that see no reason not to cheat the system because they watch corporations and government do it all the time. They wonder why they should uphold a standard of honor that no one else is and have it be at their own expense.

    • Re:Just deserts... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by phoenix_nz (1252432) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:21AM (#23948787)
      What I don't understand is how could you possibly hand in a postgraduate dissertation which you didn't write.

      Undergrad stuff, sure. There you have a few hundred students to a professor/lecturer. But postgrad?
      My supervisor had exactly one student doing postgrad - me. Sure, some supervisors had up to 20 students, but still they knew exactly what those students were capable of. Someone handing in work that isn't theirs can't happen in such a situation

      So maybe this isn't the result of "a competitive society where anyone will do their damndest to avoid poverty," but instead the result of an extremely bad student to supervisor ratio.

      The solution? I guess either pay more money to Universities to get more lecturers, or FLAMEBAIT make courses harder so that only few students survive END FLAMEBAIT.
      • by sticks_us (150624) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:32AM (#23948963) Homepage

        What I don't understand is how could you possibly hand in a postgraduate dissertation which you didn't write....

        I agree, however, my Ph. D. adviser once offered to write my dissertation for $3,000, which at the time (being a poor student), was a ridiculous amount of money (and immoral to boot).

        In retrospect, I should've taken a loan and paid him to do it, it would've been easier and far more ethical than actually writing it myself.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I agree, however, my Ph. D. adviser once offered to write my dissertation for $3,000, which at the time (being a poor student), was a ridiculous amount of money (and immoral to boot).

          In retrospect, I should've taken a loan and paid him to do it, it would've been easier and far more ethical than actually writing it myself.

          If you think that's ethical, you deserve whatever shit life hands you.

          What you should have done was gotten the offer on tape, and reported him/her. This would have served the purpo

          • Re:Just deserts... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by sticks_us (150624) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @11:04AM (#23949457) Homepage

            If you think that's ethical, you deserve whatever shit life hands you.

            What you should have done was gotten the offer on tape, and reported him/her. This would have served the purpose of leveling the playing field, so that those who are ethically corrupt and financially flush (funny how the two seem to go hand-in-hand a lot of times) don't have an unfair advantage.

            Well, I don't think paying someone to do it is ethical, but I also believe a lot of dissertation work gets done under shifty circumstances (or, at the very least, requiring an inordinate amount of humiliation, degradation, and ass-kissing). So I guess it becomes a "lesser of two evils" thing.

            As for getting it on tape--you're 110% correct. I kick myself to this day for not having a portable recorder.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Slashidiot (1179447)
        That last bit is the way things work in some other places, like Spain. Not in all universities, sure, but for example, speaking from experience, studying Civil Engineering in Madrid works like that. For starters, the undergraduate courses are a minimum of six years, plus the final project. And on the first year, with 400 new students, they separate by means of exams that only around 10 people pass, out of 400. On the easier subjects (like algebra), almost 40 to 50% people pass. This way, the result is that
  • Pathetic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kmsigel (306018) * on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:10AM (#23948591)

    I have always written programs because it is fun and rewarding. That was true in middle school, true in high school, true in college, and true now (I'm close to 40). When it's not fun I'll stop doing it. How is paying someone else to write your programs fun? How is it rewarding? It's not; it is just pathetic.

    • Re:Pathetic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phpmysqldev (1224624) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:16AM (#23948703)
      We always got quizzed and had to explain our logic, etc after turning in a major project. Just because you can produce a working program doesn't mean you understand the concept, outsourced or not.
      • Re:Pathetic (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ZeroExistenZ (721849) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:48AM (#23949161)

        Just because you can produce a working program doesn't mean you understand the concept, outsourced or not.

        Yes, agreed. But there's a difference between logical reasoning and understanding and actual implementation.

        Basically you're saying, in this context; "I understand the logical approach. So there's no need for me to put time in implementing it. A monkey without any sense of logic could produce a program with the same output."

        So you'd like someone, who you value "unable to understand the deeper underlaying logic", to write your program representing the way you understood the problem and how it could be solved?

        It's to me also a very troubling progress; people being trained to become programmers or who will have to program, but already ,before being skilled enough or having any experience, have the attitude "oh, I can outsource it!". Once those end up in the industry, what are those worth? "I can't be bothered with it. Let them outsource it"... And everyone throws their arms in the ari "oh noes, were are our jobs going?"

        Having done alot of projects "in the real world", it's rarely who put the project together who are the ones brainstorming how to make it fit more logcally without breaking the design. Those "finger in air"-documents, created by those with a simular attitude, without practical "hands on" knowledge *think* it's all fitting as a glove. But once you try to implement it you're bumping into alot of surprices and burning money with heaps.
        Ideally someone with alot of practical knowledge should lead these sorts of projects just for this reason. But where are you at when you're even not willing to gather a bit of experience, because it seems "unnecessary"?
        It's a combination of experience and skill (ability to logically understand the whole), to verify your analysis into practice, link back and evolve in your skillsets that help you to be better at what you do.

        I've stood at both sides in projects, and it's also not as straightforwards to come up with something that works perfectly. It all might be very logical, it's not definite and bringing it into being, you always have a surprice here and there.

        There's never perfection and you never know enough, each day I still learn and finetune my skills. If you're starting to outsource your potential even before you can assign yourself a certain title, it's a bit of a dubious thing to do.

        It reminds me of this engineer, taking huge pride in a job well done after his equations and calculations were all perfectly done, with added whitenoise buffers calculated to the point he felt he could be pleased with himself and nothing could go wrong. The moment his creation came into being, he spent weeks finding the "sweetspot" to make it work. His clash with the "pure theory and logic" and the actual world were a tough lesson.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        We always got quizzed and had to explain our logic, etc after turning in a major project. Just because you can produce a working program doesn't mean you understand the concept, outsourced or not.

        Unfortunately, in my classes that's not the case. My classes have been made up of programming majors who hate to write code. They all copy-and-paste each others' code, turn it in, and the instructor doesn't ask any questions about it.

        It also doesn't help that the "instructor" comes in hungover and in lieu of teaching, she basically has people type code along with her, without explaining any of the theory. She also just gives us powerpoint slides.

        I've pretty much been teaching myself programming on my ow

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by snl2587 (1177409)

      Really, this is nothing more than an indicator that some people going into programming are clearly in the wrong field.

      That being said, I don't know anyone personally who is becoming a programmer for any other reason than they really enjoy it. Kind of sucks if you don't.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by darthflo (1095225)
      Let's see...
      Earn, say, $5000 per Month working on something for two months.
      Pay, say, $3000 for that project to be done in India or wherever.
      Make $7k (per concurrent employment) while at the same time programming whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it. Sure sounds like a ton of fun.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by v1k (958019)
        How long before your contract realizes they too can send it to India and get it done for $3000, leaving you with $0?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheLink (130905)
          They might not want to manage the outsourcee, etc.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mmkkbb (816035)

          Never, because you charge $5000, kick back $1000 to the guy who signs the paycheck, and send it to India for $3000, pocketing $1000. This is not a new phenomenon, and is probably in every ethics textbook and training course.

        • Re:Pathetic (Score:4, Interesting)

          by FictionPimp (712802) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @11:12AM (#23949603) Homepage

          How is this different then me starting a company, getting hired by another company to make X for 5000.00 and paying my workers 3000.00 for actually doing it?

          The difference is my workers are not local but in india. So the same reason companies don't snipe workers from local business is the same reason they won't just go straight to india.

  • by slk (2510) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:11AM (#23948617)

    This is an excellent argument for the practical interview; instead of just asking questions, have somebody actually show you what they know.

    Mind you, this is also a good argument for forcing students to show their intermediate work (design, etc) and to do said intermediate work with pen and paper. It's a lot harder to outsource something that would be in the wrong handwriting and have to be Fedex'd from India.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AmIAnAi (975049) *

      This is an excellent argument for the practical interview; instead of just asking questions, have somebody actually show you what they know.

      I recently interviewed a couple of Masters graduates who both claimed to be profficient in C. Their accademic background and work experience gave no reason to doubt this. However, when confronted with a practical test, both made fundamental errors and struggled with the more complicated questions.
      • by Dolohov (114209) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:29AM (#23948907)

        Eh, this is common, and not necessarily indicative of a lie. I've written a lot of C code in my time, but for the last four months my job has had me writing only Java -- if someone were to sit me down to do a practical C test, I'd probably do pretty poorly after being out of it (and thinking in OO mode) for so long. If you're getting people just out of their Masters, you're getting people who had to stop what they were doing and write a Master's thesis, which seems to me like a similar obstacle to proper thinking.

        • by wattrlz (1162603) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @11:03AM (#23949441)

          If that is the case then it isn't a well-designed practical. Anybody who knows a language should be able to read some code and solve a few problems. You can't expect many interviewees to be able to churn out work up to company standards at the interview, and you shouldn't be looking for that unless you don't allow people any time to come up to speed.

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:20AM (#23948779) Homepage
      I like the idea, but requiring people to handwrite papers probably wouldn't do much to stop the whole thing. You could easily get the guy in India to show all his work, scan it, and send the files to you. Then all you have to do is copy it verbatim. I knew a girl who had a professor who insisted that papers be handwritten, saying something about curbing cheaters. Really, it made people more likely to cheat, because of the increased time it would take for them to write it out by hand. I think most people in her class just wrote the whole thing on the computer, which made editing easier, and then copied out the final product. The whole process just makes it harder on the honest students. I think that a good solution, is to place way more emphasis on exams or other more verifiable means of grading students.
      • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy&gmail,com> on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:38AM (#23949037) Journal

        Anyway, can you imagine handwritten assignments in Comp sci? Have you seen the handwriting of the average CS geek?

        My wierd liberal-arty background puts me in the top tier of CS handwriting (erratic but occasionally legible) but the fast majority of my peers fall into the average bracket (incomprehensible scrawl), and there are plenty who sink to the darkest depths (febrile 2 year old, epileptic with dyslexia) from whence no meaning can be derived.

        If it weren't for keyboards, none of us would be able to convey our ideas in written form.

  • by Toad-san (64810) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:11AM (#23948619)

    If the coursework / dissertation seems out of line with the student's "normal" performance .. hey, take five minutes (with the work in front of you, not in front of him), and ask him a few questions about it.

    How long will it take to determine he doesn't know squat about what he turned in, eh?

  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Comatose51 (687974) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:12AM (#23948633) Homepage

    Well, they might as well start early and get into the practice of out-sourcing.

    "£100 for postgraduate dissertations."

    Seriously!? If those dissertations are any good, we might as well go directly to the source and hire those guys to do R & D for us.

    • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RMH101 (636144) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:15AM (#23948697)
      Any good? No, but they'll be just about acceptable and they're cheap: which as any Finance Director knows, will be good enough for a couple of years, whilst he writes on his CV that he's saved X million USD and the company turns to crap around him.

      You mean there are companies that *don't* do this?

  • by COMON$ (806135) * on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:12AM (#23948641) Journal
    I see this as a direct result of the overloading of the Universities. When you have a prof teaching classrooms of 400 students, checking for cheating becomes practically impossible. I went to a smaller university where the ratio was significantly smaller. The profs could tell if another student wrote your code by style. That and in my university you had to comment like a mad fool, which depending on who you outsourced to might be a dead giveaway.

    I recently read one of Feynnman's books and as odd a character he is, I think he hit the nail on the head when talking about how teachers today simply dish out information and the students memorize. This has lent to a society where students know they are going to forget the courseload in a month so why not have someone else do the work for you. College is all about the piece of paper now adays anyway so you can get a higher paying job. At least that is the way the universities seem to present themselves in their advertisements.

    You want to keep students from outsourcing? Push them harder, teach rather than have them memorize, administratively, get more teachers. Universities should be hard, people should drop out, if you are not passionate about the subject then head to Vo-Tech. I want universities to go back to learning institutions rather than the factories they have become.

    • by kellyb9 (954229) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:20AM (#23948773)
      Sir, you are dead on. Just to add a little bit, I feel as though colleges have become far to lenient with who they are letting in. The standards have dropped much lower because it's becoming nearly impossible to find decent work without a B.S. in something. Colleges need to raise their standards. There are simply far too many areas of study where doing the bare minimum will afford you a decent grade. It almost seems that you need to go on with your education anymore to learn anything useful.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by VeNoM0619 (1058216)
        You are really only stating the catch 22:

        Making it hard for people to graduate
        Leads to people complaining that there aren't enough educated people

        This debate will go back and forth for a long time. Either dumb down the courses so more people can get into the "more smarter jobs for america" or make them harder so we have truely intelligent people but "not enough smart people in america".

        Either way lazy people are going to cash in, but let's face it, it's becoming human nature to be lazy.
        • by COMON$ (806135) * on Thursday June 26, 2008 @11:08AM (#23949525) Journal
          The purpose of a university is not to graduate people, the purpose of a University is to EDUCATE people. This idea of dumbing down courses does no one a favor. There are vo-tech colleges for people who cant handle universities. Not that they are not hard, but they are vo-tech, they are meant to crank out one trick horses as fast as possible.

          Leads to people complaining that there aren't enough educated peopleA piece of paper does not mean you are educated, especially if all your classes were dumbed down so you didn't actually retain any useful knowledge. This is why the system does not work. The fact that you seem to be on the down the courses so more people can get into the "more smarter jobs for america" thought path is really really sad. Essentially you are saying we need a bunch of sub par people in the "smart jobs" so we should give them the same credentials as much more capable people so we can fill a seat....that is just assinine and makes credentials worthless.

          • by randamuko (1314879) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @12:06PM (#23950401)

            I don't agree with Vo-Tech's breeding the lazy or a place for people who don't care to go.

            I go to a Vo-Tech and I get a good education in Network Administration, I am just not rich and entitled to attend a University public or private. My parents make no money, I am a single parent who has to work full time and barely make it. Spending $500+ per credit is obscene and completely not doable for someone in my position.

            For example, my boyfriend's parents are loaded, he goes to the local state university. I go to a local tech college. In the 2 years it will take me to get my degree I will not have spent as much as he does in ONE semester. That is rediculous. Besides, from the people I know in HR they don't so much look at WHERE you got the degree just that you HAVE one. I am pulling 4-5 classes a semester, working full time and taking care of my kid and I think I'm working my ass off. So you may call me lazy for going to a Vo-Tech, I call you pompus for going to a university.

      • by Oxy the moron (770724) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:51AM (#23949211)

        And so the dominoes continue to fall. Look even more closely at K-12 public schools. You want to talk about "simply dish out information and the students memorize?" That's what the typical K-12 education is right there. This is part of the problem with standardized tests at this phase in a student's life. In K-12, you should be taught how to think and problem solve as the basis for later in your education. Instead, we consider it progress if they know when the war of 1812 was fought. After all, getting answers "right" improves standardized test scores. Knowing why it was fought, its ramifications, and what we need to learn from it doesn't do anything to bring more $$$ into the school system.

        Then you can go even farther back and look at how parents don't teach their kids anything until they get to school (after all, it's the school's job!) and the problem just keeps getting worse.

        America has become a society where education just isn't valued. I could go on and on...

      • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:58AM (#23949347) Homepage Journal

        They are not being lenient, they are acting out of fear of lawsuits and funding cuts.

        Lenient is the PC way of saying we're letting unqualified people in because they meet one quota or another. Lenient is PC for saying passing over better qualified students because they don't come with bonus money : read government funds.

        One thing that does amaze me is some of the larger "private" schools who are sitting on billions all the while bemoaning the fact that the government doesn't do enough to pay for quota groups to attend. BILLIONS. Their interest alone would pay for many thousands to have access to their schools but they prefer to sit on it.

        Sorry, the courts and congress have already decided that merit is not a valid measurement, especially if declaring one side having more offends another.

        The one great truth too many people want to ignore is that we are not all created equal. The law can state otherwise, "feel gooders" can cry all they want, the PC police can declare the sentence "hate speech" but fortunately nature doesn't care.

  • by dk90406 (797452) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:16AM (#23948699)
    (C) Copyright Alexander Gromikov in the code is a big hint, if the students name is Ken Smith.
  • by sjbe (173966) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:16AM (#23948713)

    That will work until the have to sit down for an actual test or later when they try to hold a job. Might get the cheaters through a class but it's hard to hide a lack of training in the real world. I'm always astonished at the effort people put in to avoid work.

    Of course I would blame the professors too for designing a course where such cheating is practically possible. There are definitely ways to make this sort of cheating much harder. In class tests and in class assignments are among the more obvious methods.

    • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:45AM (#23949117)

      That will work until the have to sit down for an actual test

      I saw that in real life. A friend on my dorm floor who had to take a token CS class for his major decided to "outsource" the lab assignments to me. The first week he asked me to do the assignment, I said "Sure, here you go", and whipped out the "Hello World" in 20 seconds. The next week I did his insertion sort in 2 minutes. This went on for a couple more weeks.

      About halfway through the semester, when he got something annoying like a balanced red-black tree, I said "Sorry, I'm too busy to tackle that one right now". Of course, by this point he had learned jack shit by not doing any of the work. He didn't finish the rest of the assignments, bombed the tests, and ended up having to take the course again the next semester. In the end it was a big hit on his GPA, he'd wasted many hours of redundant lecture time, and he had to eventually do all the work on his own anyway.

  • Indubitably (Score:5, Funny)

    by JoshOOOWAH (849135) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:17AM (#23948723)

    My karma's gone way up ever since I started outsourcing my comments.

  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:18AM (#23948745) Journal

    How can this be impossible to detect? I remember that when I submitted my MA dissertation (a 50,000 word piece about Roman military history), I had a three hour viva on it, where two senior members of the faculty and an external examiner asked me a huge range of questions about not only the subject matter itself, but the processes I'd gone through in researching and writing my dissertation. I know for sure that if I hadn't written the thing myself, there was no way I could have made it through that. Even my significantly more modest undergraduate dissertation (a snip at just 10,000 words) was subject to a 45 minute viva, before a similar panel. Again, if I'd paid somebody else to write it, I'd have stumbled within the first five minutes.

    It seems here that "impossible to detect" actually means "impossible to detect without using tried and tested methods that are just too tiresome and/or expensive to use". Admittedly, viva scrutiny isn't possible for every single assignment, but I really would hope that any institution worth its salt would be subjecting final year dissertations to this level of probing. Maybe this doesn't apply in IT courses? I'd find that very surprising, but maybe somebody else with more relevant experience could shed some light.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cerelib (903469)
      You are making the bold assumption that those professor read your work well enough to detect a lie.
    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:30AM (#23948931)
      I wondered this as well. My MA defense was tough enough. My Ph.D. qualifyings and dissertation defense were grueling (not to mention that face time I had leading up to it with my advisor and committee). No way you can fake that or just BS your way through it (unless a computer science graduate degree works WAY differently).
  • good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by speedtux (1307149) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:19AM (#23948757)

    It's causing a major headache for lecturers who say it is almost impossible to detect.

    Maybe those lecturers should assign coursework that can't be done by a rent-a-coder in India.

    To put it differently, if you're going to a university where the assignments can be outsourced to India for $10, you aren't learning the material you need in order to be globally competitive. Your best bet is to just leave.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mikael (484)

      Our final year assignments were based upon writing device drivers for bits of hardware (network cards, stepper motors, analog sensors), and writing multi-threaded applications (eg. heart-rate monitor system - thread 1 read data in from the sensor, thread 2 displayed the graph, thread 3 performed critical levels checking/alarm, thread 4 maintained an event log).

      Since work could only take place in that room on a dedicated trusted server, and the students had to leave the work in a particular directory, it wou

  • University (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kamineko (851857) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:20AM (#23948781)

    At my university (I mentioned it in a previous Slashdot post), most module projects have to include a presentation describing the work, with time for questions.

    It's cruel, but I think it's quite funny when folks can't readily describe what they did*. It gets quite Phoenix Wright-y at times.

    * It's not funny when you're nervous and can't think of a way to articulate how you designed a complex system, but it's usually easy to tell the difference.

    • Re:University (Score:5, Interesting)

      by thermian (1267986) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:36AM (#23949007)

      Indeed, it is extremely easy to tell when someone is nervously forgetting from someone who has no clue. I've assessed presentations where the student who has quite obviously worked hard has lost their nerve and started blathering, and others where a pseudo confident fool talks a load of crap that reveals they didn't do the work.

      As for exactly how you can tell. In my experience you can usually tell because the student who is genuine but too nervous tends to know their system so well they get themselves completely mixed up over their presentation, explaining things out of order and getting confused.

      The lying student tends to be far too shallow in descriptions, and avoids low level detail. I even had one who's presentation was only linked to his slides in that they were both in the same room. It was hilarious.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Gazzonyx (982402)
        The problem I have with explaining stuff is that I usually work on projects constantly at school, four at a time, all in different languages. If you ask me a question off the top of my head, you'll likely get, "well, the layout is like this, and this interfaces that, and... no, wait! I pulled that layer out a few days ago, it conflicted with a blocking race condition. It raises an exception... erm, that's my ADA project... throws an exception..."

        At the end of stumbling through it, you'll likely look a
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SatanicPuppy (611928) *

      My stuff was readily apparent because I tended to get bored with student level coding and add "easter eggs" for the auto-tester.

      Basically the way it worked was you submitted your program, and they ran a piece of test code that threw data at it and checked the responses. It tried various combinations of data to see if your program worked to parameters, and threw the right errors with bad data.

      What I did was add a random factor to my error handling so that after a certain number of failed tests it would throw

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I have seen one instance where two people in the class gave an overview, word for word of the exact same code claiming they both wrote it not realizing they were the same. Another in the class had every second line deleted from his code (because he annoyed the wrong person) and never once noticed when giving his presentation.

  • by peter303 (12292) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:23AM (#23948817)
    I have pride in my intellectual prowess. Its inconceivable I'd cheat this way. I have to show off to the teacher how smart I am.
  • by conner_bw (120497) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:27AM (#23948875) Homepage Journal

    A poor overworked underclass doing everything for a rich undeserving upper-class?

    This has never backfired in the past and never led to mass violence, never.

  • by AutopsyReport (856852) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:27AM (#23948887)
    Are you suggesting my upcoming dissertation about the Kwik-E Mart might be read suspiciously?

    Thank you for ruining my idea! Please come again.
  • let them do it I say (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thermian (1267986) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:28AM (#23948899)

    After all, if they think that all they need is the degree certificate in order to get a decent career in IT, then their stupidity leaves the field clear for those of us who slaved over a hot dissertation for months on end.

    I have met such morons before, usually they end up in the lowest wage positions, or drifting from one shit job to the next.

    When I was an undergrad in CS four years back, there were girls on my course offering sex in return for completing their programming assignments. I never took one of them up on this offer. To this day I have no idea why....

  • by rodney dill (631059) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:31AM (#23948947) Journal
    ....was actually outsourced to an India Contractor.

    (Unfortunately so is the moderation on the comments)
  • by bestinshow (985111) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:37AM (#23949017)

    Simply put, when I'm in a position to hire myself - in the next few years - I'll simply not hire any person who graduated after 2005 unless they've actually got real world experience under their belt and even then they'll have to get technical describing their work, what they did, etc. That, or they went to a top-notch university that I can trust to have avoided such behaviour.

    So basically, it will screw all students including the honest ones.

    Note that increasing costs in India, etc, mean that outsourcing will get less desirable over time. Of course, if the home-grown talent cheated their way to a degree (and mark my words that each time you hire a graduate and they're rubbish and know nothing, that university will be discarded on future applications) then outsourcing might be the only way to go, even if it's not any cheaper.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:41AM (#23949067) Homepage

    Just wait until they get interviewed for a position where they can't do this. Pretty soon, they'll either have to learn to do it themselves or get fired.

    Oh, and if they do continue this sort of thing without the company's approval, there are all sorts of wonderful civil actions that can be taken against them by their employer. Like... exposing trade secrets to unauthorized personnel, distributing company intellectual property to those without authorization...

    God help them if they go to work as an engineer for a government contractor. They'll have the Inspector General or the FBI busting down their door with an arrest warrant if they're not very, very careful.

  • by pillageplunder (183475) <tarntootaine.hotmail@com> on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:47AM (#23949147)

    I've been in IT for 27 years, having started out by learning Keypunching via the Military. Branched out to PC's in 1982, taught myself whatever was needed to perform the various jobs I've held over the years. Now I find myself working as a Software QA lead...and interviewing folks who are out of college who have no idea how to configure an XP system to set up two different printers on a network. And these fools have Bachelor Degrees?
    So, having a degree is worth what? It doesn't appear its worth the paper its printed on. These same folks outsourcing their coursework are the next generation of Enron II...no ethics, no sense of pride in a job well done as they havn't even done it.
    Nice to see the Secondary skills I've maintained in the Construction and Plumbing trades will still be needed...these fools will probably be the ones trying to cut a sheet of plywood using their leg as a saw-horse...assuming they can figure out how to USE the saw.
    At least the good news is they'll have a good rapport with the Tech support folks, having dealt with so many of them during college.

  • Nothing new here (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wcrowe (94389) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @10:53AM (#23949261)

    When I first started coding (early 80s) it was on a mainframe which could only be accessed via the computer lab. Everyone closely guarded their user accounts, but when we compiled our programs, it generated a listing on a central printer. You would submit your program for compilation, then go hang out at the printer waiting for it to appear. Typically, a student would glance at the listing, note the compilation error, then toss the listing in the trash.

    It wasn't long before the more clueless, or lazier students figured out that they could get pretty far ahead in their projects by rifling through the trash bin and pulling out another student's listing which (mostly) worked.

    Those of us actually doing the work had no clue that this was going on because it was not unusual for someone to be digging through the trash bin for one of their own previous listings.

    I learned about this "dumpster diving" practice when one of my professors warned me that another student had copied my work almost verbatim. Fortunately this prof knew me and my "style" well enough to figure out what was going on. After that, I saved all my listings and only trashed them later off site.

    My point is that cheating like this among student coders is nothing new. There are always a few who are unable to make it on their own merits.

  • by repetty (260322) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @11:02AM (#23949407) Homepage


    The follow up article, which hasn't been published yet, is the effect that outsourcing dissertation evaluations has had on the educational process.

    The most shocking revelation will be that these outsourced professors frequently evaluate their own papers, effectively double-dipping.

  • Sad... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by neowolf (173735) on Thursday June 26, 2008 @11:17AM (#23949669)

    And yet, most large corporations require a 4-year degree (or more) just to get into the interview process for a job, regardless of one's real-world experience. We can see from this how much a lot of those 4-year degrees are really worth.

"Love may fail, but courtesy will previal." -- A Kurt Vonnegut fan

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