I'm using GitHub classroom for the college B.Sc. course I am teaching.

Several GitHub accounts have joined the classroom which seem unrelated to students. I'm suspecting these accounts are related to fraudulant activity taking place (possibly students paying people to write assignments for them).

There are several signs that raised my suspicions:

  1. These accounts only joined the classroom but did not link to any names in the classroom roster.
  2. A few of them are completely new accounts that were created and immediately afterwards joined the classroom.
  3. A couple are accounts of experienced software developers (or at least people claiming to be ones).

Apparently there is no option to block unautherized people accepting my assignment links and getting access to the assignment without authorization, but tbh, even if there was one, it wouldn't do much good (if it wasn't possible to join directly, they could just as well zip the assignment folder and send it to them by email).

I think the only plausible solution is probably to have students defend their work in a frontal setting but I do not have the time and resources to do that, and anyway it would be very difficult to justify an accusation of cheating based on such (the student will just claim he forgot or find some other excuse).

Does anyone have any experience/advice with such fraudlant activity?

Did anyone manage to get GitHub to provide any information about such accounts? For example, if I had evidence from GitHub about someone regularly visiting various student assignments I could possibly file an official request for the police to investigate (I assume it's a longshot and there are probably privacy concerns but I thought I might ask).

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I have no answer, but the police won't get involved. Academic dishonesty may potentially be a civil matter, but it has essentially no way to rise to a criminal one, and there is also no safety issue. Add in jurisdictional issues with the internet, and police absolutely won't insert themselves. $\endgroup$
    – Ben I.
    May 9, 2023 at 11:02
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure what else there is to this question that does not simply refer back to the age-old question of teachers trying to identify cheating by students. The notion that you think the police will get involved with this suggest to me that you're looking at this problem from an unproductive angle - do you think a school teacher should call the police when they catch a student cheating on a test? It seems to me that before you can tackle the problem, it would help to outline the problem space. What are you trying to catch, what are the reasonable boundaries of your authority? $\endgroup$
    – Flater
    May 10, 2023 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Flater I think you misunderstood. I was wondering if some people are selling "exercise solution services" on a regular basis as a side hussle (or maybe it's lucrative enough to be a main hussle). In such case I think there is a chance it could be a police matter. $\endgroup$
    – traveh
    May 10, 2023 at 7:28
  • $\begingroup$ @traveh I've never heard of academic dishonesty being escalated to a police matter. Yes, many people sell solutions--it's rampant on freelance platforms. The police probably have far more serious issues to tackle. What law would they be breaking, and do you have any evidence of police involvement in academic cheating? $\endgroup$
    – ggorlen
    May 10, 2023 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ @ggorlen you are probably right. I was just fishing for ideas. $\endgroup$
    – traveh
    May 10, 2023 at 19:26


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