A recent post at The Chronicle of Higher Education about an online paper writer caught my attention, mostly because of how well written it was. Most notably I enjoyed the pacing of the article where it seemed like the process of reading it online was a slightly illicit act that could be punished and I needed to read it quickly.
'Ed Dante' notes he's written frequently for students in the field of education and I can believe it, but I also suffer from but not in my class perspective. In over four years of weekly writing assignments there has bound to have been some plagiarized or paid for work but I never confronted a student because of my suspicions. There has been very bad and very good work but both appeared to originate from the student.
From my experience, three demographic groups seek out my services: the English-as-second-language student; the hopelessly deficient student; and the lazy rich kid
It's the last group that I would estimate the most likely to cheat, especially in classes driven by written assignments. Had a student considered paying a 'doctor of everything' from the first week of the quarter through the last assignment most instructors would probably be none the wiser, especially considering large class sizes, limited knowledge of a class, lack of interaction outside of class and laissez faire attitudes towards grades.
After reading it again the pace still sticks out in my mind and I wonder if it's his ability to write that well for a medium. Do his papers reflect this ability to switch into an academic student tone and as such can instructors figure this out? As noted toward the end, maybe instead of spending our time finding the cheaters - pump handle solutions - and figure out what's wrong with the well.