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IT Students Contract Out Coursework To India

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the you-gotta-be-kidding-me dept.

Education 642

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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Just deserts... (4, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948575)

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

Re:Just deserts... (4, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948677)

Are there deserts in India? I'm sure there aren't any in Romania.

Re:Just deserts... (-1, Offtopic)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948823)

The phrase is in fact "just deserts", not "just desserts". They're getting just what they deserve.

Re:Just deserts... (0, Offtopic)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948897)

Um ... whoosh?!?!

Re:Just deserts... (-1, Flamebait)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948965)

Not really. I got the joke. Just making sure nobody thinks it's bad grammar.

Re:Just deserts... (1)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949047)

Actually, I think ettiz was speaking of a ecological desert, not an after-dinner dish. Though it would have (IMO) been funnier if someone corrected him with some Romanian version of apple cobbler or what have you. :D

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

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Thank minimum wage (3, Insightful)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949005)

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.

Re:Thank minimum wage (5, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949115)

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.

Minimum wage and other laws (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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

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

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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... (1)

Caldrak (1185251) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949121)

I don't agree with this practice because I believe that the whole point of getting a degree is to gain the knowledge by doing the work. That being said, this definatly qualifies under the "work smarter, not harder" philosophy.

Re:Just deserts... (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949163)

It sounds more like a logical result of capitalism in general.

If the same work can be done abroad for far less (assuming you also include the associated "hidden" costs), this is a good business decision, in which everyone profits.

The work gets done to a presumably acceptable standard, so the "client" profits.
The student only has to pay a small fee compared to what he would be getting paid, and only has to invest a minimal amount of time in the effort, so therefore he profits.
The worker in India receives work that he otherwise wouldn't have, and is paid a wage that is considered competitive in his own country; he profits.
Through this sort of trade, India continues to build up their economy, and train an educated workforce; the state therefore also profits by these acts.

Is this necessarily a good thing for the UK and US? Possibly not. However, given the presence of cheap, talented labor, it's a very easily predictable outcome of a capitalist society.

If anything, these guys should be given Management degrees, as they have proven themselves to be very shrewd in that regard. The issue over whether or not they should be given IT degrees is somewhat debatable. Although they've demonstrated no competence in their own field, they have demonstrated the ability to complete the work anyway.

Re:Just deserts... (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949227)

Actually, planning a project with many developers to take care of each of their own
parts of the project is more like project management, outsourcing to India is more business
logic, so these people are getting ahead of themselves or studying in the wrong field!

I know many are just too lazy, but if that person is already predisposed to thinking this way, they will be the Van Wilder's of tomorrow, helping us all get those material "things" we need
or helping us find our missing talents in ourselves.

I have to hand it to that guy that used to live in our college dorm, ANYTHING we needed he had an answer for or could help us find... answers to questions or tests, pirated softwares to help us with our projects, hard core parties to help us socially or just to relax, these guys play a special part in our society.

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

phoenix_nz (1252432) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Just deserts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23948891)

Don't forget to account for lazyness. Writing a dissertation is a lot of work, maybe a student easily capable of writing whatever he submitted didn't quite feel like actually writing it and rather spent $200 (£100) on outsourcing and another $100 at the pub. Actually, I kinda like that idea... *ticks Anon box* harhar

Re:Just deserts... (5, Funny)

sticks_us (150624) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948963)

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:Just deserts... (2, Insightful)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949201)

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 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.

Re:Just deserts... (2, Interesting)

Slashidiot (1179447) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949197)

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 it takes an average of 8 or 9 years to finish (to those who finish, that is around 40% of the initial 400), but people are very well prepared to work under stress, and work hard.

So the idea is that if you get to the end of it, you might not know a lot about actually being a civil engineer, but you certainly have proved that you can work hard.

Re:Just deserts... (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948977)

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

I guess something had to trickle down in this economy... turned out to be the ethics :)

Re:Just deserts... (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949135)

That's what you get in a colonial society where everyone will do their damndest to avoid work.

Pathetic (5, Insightful)

kmsigel (306018) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 (5, Insightful)

phpmysqldev (1224624) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Pathetic (2, Insightful)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948863)

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:Pathetic (5, Funny)

Drakonik (1193977) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949089)

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

Re:Pathetic (2, Insightful)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948953)

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:Pathetic (3, Insightful)

v1k (958019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949041)

How long before your contract realizes they too can send it to India and get it done for $3000, leaving you with $0?

Re:Pathetic (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949099)

They might not want to manage the outsourcee, etc.

Re:Pathetic (2, Insightful)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949225)

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.

An excellent argument... (4, Insightful)

slk (2510) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:An excellent argument... (2, Informative)

AmIAnAi (975049) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948739)

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.

Re:An excellent argument... (5, Insightful)

Dolohov (114209) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:An excellent argument... (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948779)

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.

Re:An excellent argument... (4, Funny)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949037)

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.

Re:An excellent argument... (1)

v1k (958019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949069)

>Anyway, can you imagine handwritten assignments in Comp sci? Have you seen the handwriting of the average CS geek? Maybe they can type it instead.

Re:An excellent argument... (1)

mo^ (150717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949209)

I am studying computing with the UK's "Open University". Recently discovered to my dismay that my final exams wereall hand written.

This included creating upwards of 40 methods per question and scripting small OO programs..

So taking errors and crossings out into account (amazing how hard it is to write clearly and legible when doing angled, square, or squiggly brackets) would leave me with 100 lines of writing where only 70 or so were not crossed out.

Fuck knows how they mark this stuff..... Also, being used to using an editor tehre is no testing to ensure that minor syntax errors (capitalization etc) are avoided.

I did that and it worked out great. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23948835)

I interviewed a couple of grads and one said he'd outsource the work to India. I hired him on the spot because that's the correct answer! Because, I can't find any excellent IT folks here so I have to go overseas.

Why yes! I recruit for IBM, Intel, Bank of America, and many many other large corporations.

Re:An excellent argument... (1)

realxmp (518717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948845)

Except then you have a lot of students like me whos handwriting is like that of a spider. There was a reason our lecturers required every bit of coursework submitted to be typewritten. You'd also have to make special arrangements for all the students with dyslexia and dyspraxia (surprisingly common in the tech field) who would then have to do the coursework under controlled conditions so as to have the same supposed security of those who handwrote the coursework. Vivas (practical interviews) also test an important skill of being able to verbally communicate to an audience what you're actually thinking, a vital workskill.

So talk to the student? (5, Insightful)

Toad-san (64810) | more than 6 years ago | (#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... (5, Insightful)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948633)

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... (3, Insightful)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 6 years ago | (#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?

Universities~=Corporate america (5, Insightful)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948641)

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.

Re:Universities~=Corporate america (4, Insightful)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Universities~=Corporate america (2, Interesting)

legoman666 (1098377) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949059)

There are simply far too many areas of study where doing the bare minimum will afford you a decent grade.
I am proof of that. I don't do jack shit and managed a 3.5 last quarter. Now I'm cooping and I still don't do jack shit and make 18+/hour. It's great.

Re:Universities~=Corporate america (2, Insightful)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949179)

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.

Re:Universities~=Corporate america (4, Insightful)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 6 years ago | (#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...

Re:Universities~=Corporate america (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23949243)

What does it matter if they raise their standards? Cheating doesn't start in college. Those that cheat at the university level have cheated at the high school level, at the middle school level, in extracurriculars, etc. Which means that unless they are detected somehow, they will always be what collegiate institutions consider the cream of the crop.

Re:Universities~=Corporate america (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949049)

I had a select handful of teachers at the university that I went to who actually taught the students. Too many of the other teachers were concerned about their grants or their book sales to care about an undergrad class. I swear I learned more from an underpaid teacher at a local community college then I ever did from a teacher with tenure at a 4 year university. They need to change the universities so teachers are required to teach and grants and whatnot for research is an afterthought. But yes I know that will never happen because a university is a business :(

Outsourcing (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23948649)

India and China are ruining first world countries.

their work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23948669)

At my place is common practice to have code review and sharing of the design decision with each team member. What would those student to, phone back to india to ask for clarification?

Read the Copyright (5, Funny)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948699)

(C) Copyright Alexander Gromikov in the code is a big hint, if the students name is Ken Smith.

Clever but self defeating (5, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Clever but self defeating (1)

rwxrwx (1310115) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948871)

I agree, and because of stuff like this going it is ruining the IT world and IT job market. You get these young 'professionals' who think they know everything but when shit hits the fan they don't know jack.

I remember when you went to get a degree in computer sciences it was because you were interested in the field ,now must 'students' are just seeing $$ signs.

Re:Clever but self defeating (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948955)

Might get the cheaters through a class but it's hard to hide a lack of training in the real world.

That's what managerial positions are for.

Re:Clever but self defeating (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949075)

Yep. All of my mangers are dumb shits. The company I am working at has been around since 1983 and they still do not have version control on their software. I told they hey lets get some version control, they told me I did not know what I was talking about.

Re:Clever but self defeating (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949125)

Might get the cheaters through a class but it's hard to hide a lack of training in the real world.
That's what managerial positions are for.
I realize you are (probably) making a joke but management has its own skill set which is every bit as demanding as engineering. An unskilled manager is at least as obvious as an unskilled engineer and potentially a lot more damaging to the organization.

Re:Clever but self defeating (4, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 (5, Funny)

JoshOOOWAH (849135) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948723)

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

Re:Indubitably (4, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948941)

Dear Sir,

We will have your obligatory Futurama reference done by next Tuesday. Please transfer the funds to the aforementioned offshore bank account.

Impossible to detect? (5, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948745)

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:Impossible to detect? (2, Insightful)

cerelib (903469) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948909)

You are making the bold assumption that those professor read your work well enough to detect a lie.

Re:Impossible to detect? (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948925)

Viva scrutiny is hardly necessary (though it would be cool :-) ). Simply require a 3-5 page written report detailing every turned in homework assignment or project. Then on top of that randomly choose a set of students from the class and interview them about their work to ask why they did this, that, etc. with their code. Granted you could outsource your report writing, but I have a feeling that outsourced programmers may have a bit more trouble writing essays in the local tongue..making it easy to point out who is engaging in what.

Re:Impossible to detect? (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#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).

Re:Impossible to detect? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948995)

Can we outsource the viva voce examination to India too?

Re:Impossible to detect? (1)

gatzby3jr (809590) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949239)

Even just doing a basic walkthrough of code can shed light on whether not someone has or has not written code.

For my last operating systems project (not even a dissertation or final project, just the last one of the semester), the TA's were instructed to go over each students code with the student and have the student walk them through the code and what it did. The person in front of me didn't even know where the code began, but insisted that it was his code. Once he found the main function, he had no idea where it went after that (and still insisted that it was his code).

good! (5, Insightful)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:good! (2, Informative)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948949)

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 would be hard for any student to outsource the work.

Re:good! (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949023)

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 would be hard for any student to outsource the work.

Which only goes to show that some stupid final year projects, unfortunately, cannot be outsourced.

Writing device drivers and multi-threaded programming is simply not appropriate for a university degree. Or did you attend a trade school?

Re:good! (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949223)

It was one of many course modules that the department taught (as well as computer graphics, signal processing, AI, software engineering, hardware engineering, mathematics, statistics, parallel processing, algorithm analysis), which just about every university Computer Science department offers, whether they are red-brick, ivy-league, campus or city-centre.

You seem very defensive about the concept of universities using data auditing to check for cheating. Are you in the business of offshoring course assignments?

University (4, Interesting)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948797)

Which is strange, because you don't really need to cheat to get anywhere in my course. It could be said that the course itself is cheating, in a fashion.

Re:University (5, Interesting)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

i can do it faster and better than any indian (3, Funny)

peter303 (12292) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:i can do it faster and better than any indian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23949039)

I will go out on a limb here and say that it's most unlikely that you are more intelligent than every Indian.

That being said, it would be great if these students managed to motivate themselves similarly, through actual or perceived intellectual superiority, and do their own freakin' coursework rather than get someone else to do it!

/Indian...
//does not condone the act of these students...
///or the unethical people over here supporting them

Re:i can do it faster and better than any indian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23949169)

Meanwhile your professor "outsources" his grading to the apathetic Indian (or Chinese, or sometimes American, &c.) TA who will run a few scripted tests and check off which outputs compared correctly to the reference, before summing up the checks and recording some points in the gradebook.

Any other bright ideas? There are ways to show off, but doing well on HW alone isn't worth much more than the grade in many cases (not most, but many). Think: final project, &c.

Contract cheating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23948819)

This is called as contract cheating. "Clients" use freelancing websites (like elance.com etc.) to put up work (in this case assignments, mini projects etc.) which are then given to the lowest bidder. A lot of small to medium companies in India work on such projects.

Not a good idea (2, Informative)

Zelocka (1152505) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948837)

Anyone in the IT field that has dealt with outsourced code knows that it's generally buggy and poorly written and requires a lot of debug time on the company side. It's not likely that annoying college students are going to get good quality especially since they likely won't know the difference if they are using a service like that anyway.

I guess outsourcing would generally work for simple assignments, but frankly it would take more time to find someone to do it then it would to do most coding assignments in the first place. Add to that the fact that you will have tests on the subject both in class and in interviews so doing this is not a good move long term anyway.

Now if it was English papers...

How difficult would it be... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948857)

...to design a test that could be administered under secure circumstances that would demonstrate clearly whether the little twits actually knew anything about the stuff they allegedly had covered?

If you wanted to be REALLY nasty, you'd then match up marks on the exam with marks on course work and use that as the basis to take a close look at the cases where there was a large discrepancy.

And then, of course, I nice, public Academic Misconduct hearing.

I see a red door. (5, Funny)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948875)

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.

Here's one way to nail them (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948885)

Simply setup operations in these countries to accept work from potential students. Once submitted follow the reverse path to the culprit, then punish the dude and dismiss him, then publicize it. Sounds simple to me.

Dissertation Topic (3, Funny)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 (4, Interesting)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#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....

Re:let them do it I say (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948999)

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.

I have met such morons before, usually they end up in management, drifting from one board seat to the next.
There, fixed it for ya.

Where's the Problem? (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948923)

Yeah, I know this doesn't fit the traditional view of how schoolwork gets done, but I've heard a rumor that sometimes things change. It's not that much of a change anyway: people have been getting other people to do their homework for as long as there have been schools. Technology has just provided ways to make it more efficient.

If this is really growing as fast as they suggest then maybe the educators need to look at why so many students don't see any value in doing the work themselves. My daughter is majoring in a field that she loves, but she's absolutely hating school since she realized that at least 80% of her coursework is geared toward creating more academicians.

On the other hand, with the outsourcing the student gets experience in a valuable business skill instead of spending a bunch of time doing something he'll never have use for after college.

Re:Where's the Problem? (1)

rwxrwx (1310115) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949045)

On the other hand, with the outsourcing the student gets experience in a valuable business skill instead of spending a bunch of time doing something he'll never have use for after college.

While I can see your point in most of what you said , that last part is just BS. How can outsourcing someone writing some code if I would be learning to become a programmer be something I will never use?

And secondly what business skills ? look on website , hire outsource coder, log into paypal transfer cash, get code , turn in coursework.

This Slashdot article... (4, Funny)

rodney dill (631059) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948947)

....was actually outsourced to an India Contractor.

(Unfortunately so is the moderation on the comments)

Rent A Coder, anyone? (2, Informative)

BradleyAndersen (1195415) | more than 6 years ago | (#23948971)

I used to do work on Rent A Coder, till I couldn't compete anymore. 5 years ago, you could get good money for writing simple projects for people (I didn't ask what the projects were for ;) ... now programmers abroad are doing the same coding for about 10 times less cost (my non-scientific observations on my project bids) than I can. This thing has been around a long time.

YUO FAiL IT?! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23948975)

core team. They for the 4roject. is the worst off *BSD but FreeBSD World's Gay Nigger

And business will adapt ... (5, Interesting)

bestinshow (985111) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Simple Answer (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949027)

Simply stated, coursework in CS must become more writing intensive (if it currently is not..your mileage may vary at your institution). Students must be forced to explain their thinking, verbalize their understanding, and convey the concepts to the instructor and other students. The day when curricula asks students to 'do', 'mimic', or 'repeat' rather than to 'know' and 'understand' is the day curricula undermines itself. Unfortunately, this day has already come for many academic institutions around the United States.

Note: I'm not saying all academic institutions in the US (or anywhere else for that matter) are ruined or busted. There are stellar schools that are still keeping on keepin' on.

nothing new... (1)

gorehog (534288) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949055)

And in other breaking news students have started paying other students to write PAPERS for them!!!

Seriously, for as long as I can remember students have been using "paper writing services." Yes, this predates the internet. I'm sure many slashdot readers have been paid to do someones work for them. And yes, this predates the internet.

A self-correcting problem (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949067)

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.

Does this show how useless a Degree is? (2, Insightful)

pillageplunder (183475) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

start including American pop culture on the quiz (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949153)

Q: Who won American Idol last year?

A: I don't know

Shit, that either means he's Indian or an American with taste.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23949181)

When I was a grad student, I was loaded with coursework, regular dept work for an asst'ship I had, an off-campus job, and more... I didn't have time to sit down and write a macro-assembler in C for an assignment.

I'd written parsers, and the like before, and this wasn't going to be a problem, I just didn't have the time.

So I found a buddy - had him code it for me for some bucks... Turned it in, the teacher checked off the assignment, all was well...

What'd I learn from that experience? Delegate to get things done...

Fast forward some years - I now also have an MBA and as a manager I need to delegate to get things done - there's not enough time in the day to handle it all. I needed a project completed, my teams were loaded - so I looked up my old pal - he needed a project, volia! Work's getting done...

What professors fail to understand is that so much of what they're asking to be done is absolute rote crap that it's BORING... Also, it takes time, and that's not the only class/duty the student has - sometimes it's just impossible to get it all done...

As for the dissertation - is it a PhD dissertation or some bullshit senior thesis? The way I understood things, the PhD dissertation was under the direction of a supporting prof and committee and one had to run just about everything past them, then compile the stats, then write the paper, then defend it in front of the committee... I'd find it hard to believe that an India-outsourced paper would pass muster...

Some bullshit Senior Thesis on the Natural Harmonic Resonance of a Hostess Fruitpie might though (c.f.: I did write that for a class paper... made the whole thing up - turned it in. Prof read it, said "read it in front of the class and I'll give you an A")

A fitting punishment for this heinous deed! (1)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949183)

Transfer them to the business school. Where they'll probably get extra credit for their managerial skills.

It's about cooperation (1)

OpenSourceNut (1136825) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949217)

Education focuses too much on competition and not enough on cooperation

Students get in Honor Code trouble all the time because they work to closely together..

OK, but seriously.. this is a bit far.

Sign of the times... (1)

sitarlo (792966) | more than 6 years ago | (#23949247)

These students will fit right into today's IT world. Lack of ethics, integrity, technical skills, etc... Heck, make 'em managers right out of school. They're obviously qualified.
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