Go check out the free content at the Wall Street Journal today. This article is on students outsourcing their homework to India:
But if U.S. companies can go online to outsource their programming, why can't U.S. computer students outsource their homework -- which, after all, often involves writing sample programs? Scruples aside, no reason at all. Search for "homework" in the data base of Rent A Coder projects, and you get 1,000 hits. (An impressive number, but still a tiny fraction of all computer students, the vast majority of whom are no doubt an honest and hardworking lot.)
A few examples: "I need a simple console-based program and a PHP script written that uses the openssl library." "I need 2 algorithms filtering -- median and Gaussian." "A C++ program that will implement a billing system using threads. Needs to be completed tonight if possible."
Indeed, some programming students appear to be outsourcing their way through college. "Pascal Rookie," from Colorado Springs, Colo., has put five school projects to bid. And while he may be a plagiarist, at least he treats his helpers well: Mr. Rookie has received the highest marks possible for a buyer in the eBay-like rating system used by Rent A Coder. "A pleasure to work with him," said one.
Sounds bad, though we're guessing that this is quite rare. Spoken like a true academic, professor Steve Hsu, who writes on both physics and economics, has this to say:
Those creative, enterprising Americans are at it again! They've outsourced the boring, low value-added tasks like learning C++ to foreigners! Thanks to yankee ingenuity we'll grow our GDP through real cutting edge innovation, like organizing raves or inventing new ways to dispense shots.
With any luck, when they grow up, they'll design the next Danish-furniture-influenced MP3 player, while someone overseas designs the guts.