Flicking through The Age last week, I came across an article expressing concern about academic integrity in relation to cheating and academic misconduct at Australian Universities. In particular, the article pointed in the direction of “online essay mills”.

Online essay mills help students seeking to buy essays and other written homework and to pass it off as their own.

My first thoughts? Buying essays online is possible?

I’m in my final semester of my degree, and I find this out…now. Great.

Just kidding, the concept seems way too risky if you ask me.

But whilst the concept might be risky, there are plenty of students out there who are making use of online essay mills, and have been for some time. The article noted that whilst buying academic assignments isn’t a new phenomenon, the channel being used to reach out to customers is. Essay Mills have jumped on the bandwagon, and are, like every other business, making use of social media to target their customers.

Social media allows online essay mills to reach out to students, relying on high stress levels, laziness, or lack of confidence to make sales.

According to Wollongong University academic writing lecturer Ruth Walker, the number of students caught cheating does not appear to be rising, as online essay mills are becoming more and more organised.

By using social media, online essay mills are easier for students to find and approach, in comparison to the traditional method of personally finding someone to pay to write your essay.

Whilst their business might not be ethical, there’s no doubt they will benefit enormously by getting in on social media.What are people’s thought about this? I’d love to hear of stories of “friends of friends” who have used online essay mills before!