Google bans essay ads

The BBC reports that Google will ban essay adverts. I knew this was a problem but hadn’t appreciated how severe it is:

Banning the ads strikes me as sensible, but won’t students simply perform a search instead? Google could also block the searches, but that’s censorship and has difficulties of its own.

The internet has made both paid and unpaid plagiarism too easy; but there has always been a fine line between plagiarism and research (a song by Tom Lehrer comes to mind). Perhaps it is time to change the way students are assessed.


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2 thoughts on “Google bans essay ads”

  1. Perhaps it is time to change the way students are assessed.

    Isn’t this why they introduced examinations in the first place? Now they’re not very fashionable.

  2. Maybe we should roll with the punches – perhaps tutors should set work which goes “find three essays on the topic of the Franco-Prussian-Hungarian wars, and identify three sources they have in common, and two urban myths that they introduce wrongly.”

    It would make it meta-studying, but that seems to be what those courses which don’t submit well to exams (the arts ones, principally) are doing anyway – go and read books in a library and then resplurge it.

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