A short interview with Thomas Lancaster, one of the speakers at URKUND PEPP-talks

Hello there Thomas! What can the participants expect from your presentation?

I’ve been researching contract cheating, the behaviour where students get a third party to complete their assessments for them, since 2005. We know it’s a widespread problem, with 1 in 20 students thought to have outsourced their assessments at least once.

What’s been fascinating me recently is the people working behind the scenes driving contract cheating. I’ve previously looked at the business models keeping essay mills running and now I’m looking at the people right at the end of the food chain, the academic writers.

In my talk, I’m going to share my findings, including examples of the people writing essays for students, the skills they’re advertising, the type of assessments they like to complete and the money many of these writers are making. We do need to know much more about the writers and what drives them. This will help us to prevent plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct and to develop assessments that promote academic integrity.

What are you looking forward to the most with URKUND PEPP talks?

The whole speaker line-up is interesting and varied, with presenters from across Europe. As well as keeping up to date with the latest findings on plagiarism, I see the PEPP event as an excellent opportunity for discussion with like-minded practitioners.

I’m very interested in improving university teaching and how we support students with academic writing and those areas are covered by the other speakers. I’ve also been doing work recently on how to engage students with academic integrity. So much of that goes beyond the student themselves and into their wider community and so I’m really keen to see what Pablo San Roman has been doing.

It should be an excellent event and I’m looking forward to my visit to Stockholm in August.

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See you on 24th August!