Conference Paper

Jack Watson: Addressing Contract Cheating at Scale in Online Computer Science Education

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Abstract

Cheating has always been a problem for academic institutions, but the internet has increased access to a form of academic dishonesty known as contract cheating, or "homework for hire." When students purchase work online and submit it as their own, it cannot be detected by commonly-used plagiarism detection tools, and this troubling form of cheating seems to be increasing. We present an approach to addressing contract cheating: an AI agent that poses as a contractor to identify students attempting to purchase homework solutions. Our agent, Jack Watson, monitors auction sites, identifies posted homework assignments, and provides students with watermarked solutions that can be automatically identified upon submission of the assignment. Our work is ongoing, but we have proved the model, identifying nine cases of contract cheating through our techniques. We are continuing to improve Jack Watson and further automate the monitoring and identification of contract cheating on online marketplaces.

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... Such a situation can arise when a student purchases unique content through contract cheating. More ambitious techniques to combat this form of cheatingsuch as comprehensive watermarking of student starter code and automated detection of requests for answers to sites like Cheggare currently under development (Dahiya et al., 2021;Graziano et al., 2019); once ready, they will be incorporated into this workflow to generate additional submissions to include in the batch of suspicious assignments for the Categorization workflow. ...
... Contract cheating allows students to submit work that never has a chance to appear in a corpus, making a one-to-one comparison impossible. Some efforts to limit this are underway, such as the development of AI agents to proactively detect attempts to engage in contract cheating on the third-party sites (Graziano et al., 2019). Other efforts emphasize detecting significant deviations in an individual's writing style (Oberreuter et al., 2011), although it remains to be seen how convincing such evidence is for proving that misconduct has occurred. ...
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How common is commercial Contract Cheating in Higher Education?
  • Phil Newton
  • Newton Phil
Phil Newton. 2018. How common is commercial Contract Cheating in Higher Education?. In Frontiers in Education, Vol. 3. Frontiers, 67.