Jan 7, 2022

A Cheating Student Fell Right Into a Professor’s Trap

A professor shared a story on Reddit about a student who was definitely a little too mischievous for his own good.

Take a look at what happened.

Cheating student thought he had me fooled. Fell right into my trap!

“So, I am a cancer researcher and a guest professor at an university’s school of medicine, teaching my speciality: Imaging.

Besides the usual acquisitions of medical images using MRI, CT, etc… Imaging as a lot to do with image processing. Some days I am just a glorified programmer/IT guy. And as anyone who has ever programmed anything will tell you, coding is a very personal activity. With enough experience, you can tell who wrote what just by looking at the lines.

I am also in my late 20’s and I am not native to this country and it’s my first year has guest professor. So, some students look at me as this inexperienced, gullible, foreign guy.

As part of my module’s grading, the students have to submit 2 reports that weight 10% each, of their final grade. These reports are about image processing and they have to code a fair bit.

As usual there are students that make an effort, some do minimal work and then some cheat/copy. As I was grading the reports I notice a small group of students who found reports from previous years online and literally copy+paste those reports, changing only their name.

It was a facepalm moment, because those reports were not even good, and had lot of errors. (You see, in order to establish a baseline for my grading, I browsed previous years reports so I knew what to expect from the students of this module.) Naturally I graded them all with 0 and kept working my way through grading the reports I had left.

Meanwhile, the students “casually” asked me in the halls how were the reports. Off course I can’t comment on that until I release the grades. One time, this dude, who has copied from another report (98% match on plagiarism checker) , asks me when will I release the grades and comes with this story that he worked really hard on his reports. That his exam hasn’t gone so well and he is hoping that the grade on his reports are enough to get a pass.

I mean, submitting another person’s work as your own is very wrong, but it was an online submission and impersonal. Right now he was just lying through his teeth and to my FACE. I could feel my blood boiling, but I didn’t lost my composure and decide to come up with a plan:

I knew that my exam was the last exam of the semester and that after that the students usually go home or family vacations while they wait for their grades to be posted online.

So I graded the exams and input their grades into my excel with their report grades. 4 students had zero due to cheating on their reports and if I graded their reports with 50% of the max grade they would BARELY FAIL the module. But they would fail nonetheless. So, It. Was. On!

(In order to be fair I bumped everyone else’s grades, a bunch of people with miserable reports ended up barely passing because of my grade bump. But, even though their reports were bad, it was their own work and not copied from anywhere)

You see, students are entitled to make an appointment to review their grades after publishing and before the grades are locked for the year. Basically, they sit with me, we go through their exam and reports and their goal is to convince me to “give” them extra points in hope that they pass the module.

I knew the cheaters would come, after all, they think they fooled me once already, and they still have half the report’s points to bargain for. So I just waited for their emails.

Lo and behold, they write me the same day the grades go online, saying how hard they have worked on their reports and that they don’t understand how they only got 50%. And that they wanted an appointment. I was ecstatic! Sure, let’s review your grades!!

Do you remember that my exam was the last one? Well, they were already on vacations… some very far away… and begged me for an online appointment. No can do… university policy. Moreover you have 3 days to show for you appointment, otherwise the grades are locked, also university policy.

So here they come, cutting their vacations short and catching planes, some spent hours in buses and trains to make it on time.

I know what many of you are thinking: they come, I show them the plagiarism checker results and reveal that I know that is not their work and send them on their way… well, I considered it but I had something better in mind. Those appointments usually take 10 min, I show them their work with my notes on what’s wrong/right and they try to find some inconsistencies in my grading and bargain for more points. I ain’t giving you the opportunity. Mhuahahah!!

So, one by one they sit with me individually. And I go through their exam and reports…remember that they copied the reports? And copied bad ones, with a lot of errors… I ask questions, lots of them: “why did you do this?” , “what is your reasoning for this?” – they don’t know… it’s no their work… they mumble random stuff, because they don’t know what to answer…

Point by point, mistake by mistake, I explain why it was wrong, how it should be done, lecturing the same material that they had already been lectured on during class… I make it long, I make it boring… I make it painful… I spent hours with each one of them throughout those 3 days.

They always came with the same, “I worked sooooo hard on this”… and a little smirk on their face because they thought that it should be really easy to fool me, the gullible foreign again… as the hours go by and I am walking through the errors one by one I could see their expression change… little by little, their hopes of passing being slowly crushed… and when they realized that I KNEW they cheated and I wasant going to give up any extra points.

At this point they tried to cut short their appointment and leave I wouldn’t let them. “We need to finish the review of your grades, its university policy”… And I just kept going, extending their misery for one more hour or two… it was legal torture, plain and simple!

IT WAS GLORIOUS!!

At the end, every single one of them left with a “crushed soul” look in their eyes and a FAIL in my class… they knew that I caught them, that I baited them and they fell for it… they ruined their vacation and their family vacations, spent money to travel back and forth, wasted precious summer time, got bored to d**th and have nothing to show for it. And… next year they will have to repeat the module…WITH ME!!

“I hope you enjoy your summer!! See you next year!!””

Hey o! Now let’s see what Reddit users had to say about this.

This reader said that these kids actually got off lightly for what they did.

Screen Shot 2021 08 30 at 10.36.38 AM A Cheating Student Fell Right Into a Professor’s Trap

Photo Credit: Reddit

Another person said that these kids are lucky they didn’t get expelled, because that’s the punishment in a lot of other places.

Screen Shot 2021 08 30 at 10.38.47 AM A Cheating Student Fell Right Into a Professor’s Trap

Photo Credit: Reddit

This individual said their experience with students cheating was very disheartening and led to them leaving their university.

I guess cheating is dealt with differently everywhere…

Screen Shot 2021 08 30 at 10.39.41 AM A Cheating Student Fell Right Into a Professor’s Trap

Photo Credit: Reddit

And lastly, this person shared a story about how one student even plagiarized THE PROFESSOR’S work. Now, that is risky.

Screen Shot 2021 08 30 at 10.40.24 AM A Cheating Student Fell Right Into a Professor’s Trap

Photo Credit: Reddit

What do you think about this professor’s scheme?

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