By Patricia Tomasi
Time is running out … it’s 3 a.m. and the essay’s due at 10 … must get it done … feeling sleepy … need more coffee … wake up, there’s only five more pages to go.
Or you could just fire up your Internet search engine, type in “essay” and download a paper from the vast array of free essays that appear.
Moral it isn’t, but technological-savy students have clued in to the slacker way to do an essay.
Dave, a fourth-year computers student, owns a CD-ROM with more than 10,000 essays on it.
“I don’t think there’s anything morally wrong with it,” said Dave, who did not want his full name used. “I just care about getting it done.”
Websites as “Absolutely Free Online Essays,” warn users not to plagiarize. After this short message the essay database can find the best match to virtually any essay topic. Submissions are always welcome, the site proclaims.
“EssayMan’s Web Site” is run by a high school student. He also sells books on essays at a discounted price and invites users to sign his “EssayMan’s Guestbook List” before leaving.
Louis Buchanan, an English professor at Ryerson, tells his students to avoid essay services, but admits students who use them are rarely caught.
He has had five incidents in his 25 years of teaching at Ryerson, and the worst punishment he’s ever doled out is failing a student on her essay.
Garry Engkent, director of the Writing Centre and an English professor, said cheating is senseless if a student is paying to get an education.
“The objective of university is to learn,” said Engkent. “Why bother coming if you’re going to cheat your way through?”
Dave said his liberal arts courses are becoming less and less important to him compared to the professionally-related ones.
“The essays for those classes are a burden and you need to find a quick way to get them done so you can focus on your professionally-related courses.”