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Professors Check for Cheats

professors_go_back_to_schoolThis past December, a website came into existence that offered procrastinators yet another tool for getting deadline extensions. does exactly what the URL would suggest. For the small price of $3.95, will sell you an unreadable Word, Excel or PowerPoint file. The idea is that you rename the file to whatever your assignment is, and then submit the corrupted file to your professor. The professor assumes something went wrong during submission or download, and a few days later asks you to submit the file again. By this point you should have hopefully finished the actual assignment.

However, the Chronicle of Higher Education has an article that informs professors how to detect if the corrupted file is legitimate or not. T. Mills Kelly, an associate dean at George Mason University, is quoted as saying,

“Every time a student e-mails me a paper, I open the file to make sure that it will open so I know that the paper is turned in, and if it doesn’t work, I write them on the spot: ‘You have to send me a new copy,’”. “If they don’t send it right away, my brain starts ticking over.”

He also mentions that a simple check of the document properties will reveal when the file was created and how many times it was edited.

“What are the odds that you wrote a 10-page paper 10 minutes before you e-mailed it to me, without an edit?” he asked, adding that circumventing the system by intentionally using a corrupted file was cheating. “I always recommend failure for the course.”

This just goes to show that innovative ways to get extensions might work once, but more often than not, it’s just not worth the risk. Try talking with your professor about a deadline extension before resorting to using corrupted files or other types of excuses.

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About the Author

Chase Tralka

Chase Tralka is a Senior majoring in Information Sciences and Technology with a minor in Security and Risk Analysis. He is from Northern New Jersey and is involved in far too many organizations to list here. He enjoys photography, cycling, and listening to obscure free jazz music.

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