Friday, June 26, 2009

Another reason for profs to insist upon paper:

The website urges "Keep this site a Secret!" Oops — too late!

Thanks, George.

[To students: Don’t try it. Your professors are likely aware of this trick. Even if they’re not, a file that refuses to open is your problem, not theirs. When getting such a file, few if any professors will feel anything other than the feeling that they’re being had. They can figure out that they’re being had by opening the file with a text-editor and discovering the big piece of nothing you’ve just sent. You’ll then be in even deeper trouble for having engaged in academic misconduct.]

comments: 6

brian said...

Excellent! But this is why, when I receive papers over email, I open or save them *immediately*, and any corrupted files are met with a demand that a readable file be produced immediately as well. Or, one simply has to have a clause in one's syllabus that states that the late policy has *no exceptions* (e.g., no corrupted files, no crashed computers or stolen disks, etc.). The corrupted files trick really isn't that interesting or devious, it's just another dumb dog-ate-my-homework ruse, and I think it rarely succeeds, and thus is no real threat. By the way: I will report that Harvard expelled or suspended at least two students from a popular humanities course last fall for faking "undeliverable email" messages and for the old corrupted file scheme. Anyway, all such problems can be obviated by simply saying, "Ok, so we had an email problem--now send me the paper..." Upon responding like this, in my experience (only once has sometime tried this), the truth came out immediately. Has anyone reading out there actually been severely troubled or duped by this?

Michael Leddy said...

Brian, I received what might have been one such file last fall.

I too open attachments immediately. But the problem with saying "now send me the paper" is that the student might not "receive" your reply for many hours, thus buying time.

An easy way for a prof to defeat this scam is to require that the content of an attachment also be included in the body of an e-mail message. (That would work at least with text.)

brian said...

True, true. Of course, many (major) assignments cannot be improved even with a few hours.
A few years ago, I experimented with just saying, "Look, here are the four written assignments for the course, and they're due whenever you want, before X date at the end of the semester--no late assignments, no excuses, no nothing. Just hand it in whenever you want before the final exam."
Stupidly, I thought people would pace themselves. They didn't. It was all turned in on that last day. But it was a small course, so I wasn't buried. I guess I have a lot to learn! Thanks for the good blog, which I check almost every day.

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, a deadline often becomes the only time to turn in work. : )

Thanks for reading, Brian. I'm glad you like Orange Crate Art.

Daughter Number Three said...

But... but... it's almost sweet how tells students "Plagiarism is not the answer to procrastination. - is!"

Michael Leddy said...

Yes. And “Q: Is this cheating? A: It's a fine line.”