Spotting a Cheater

 


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Even as an undergrad I was constantly amazed at the lack of consideration that my class mates would put into their course work. Cheating was obviously their first problem, but this article is less about the questionable ethics of someone that cheats. What always stood out for me was the beautifully combination of bad judgment and terrible Microsoft Word skills. Even more amazing is that I was a computer science student and surrounded by individuals with an amazing aptitude for technology that would often far exceed my own, so what was missing?

Group assignments, from my perspective this type of assignment brings out the absolute worst in most people. I am not sure if it is just because when confronted the opportunity to be lazy most people opt in or it is the rare occasion to see how most people go about writing a paper. As a result of this trend I would go as far as to break a 4 person group into 3 authors and 1 editor because inevitably the paper would not have consistent flow without it. The following will outline the 3 most common things that people would do that made it blatantly obvious that they didn't write their own part.

I. Don't use Wikipedia as a place to copy your entire paper. For one second just accept the fact that you are not the only person on the planet with access to the internet and furthermore you don't have secret access to Google. I laugh at how lame mot people are when it comes to their ability to search, thinking that results they pulled back are only disclosed to them.

II. Answer the question that you are supposed to. A good sign that someone is cheating is that they get the topic right but they don't really answer the question that being posed to them. If the question is to describe the impact of technology on modern library systems do not hand in 3 pages on the Dewey Decimal System.

III. The third and easiest way to point out a cheater is when the "author" doesn't even bother changing the font from a web font to the default MS Word font. I mean come on people, how lame do you have to be to think that no one is going to wonder why you used 4 different fonts, and a web font?!? Again, let me point this out again, I was a computer science major so the people I was in classes with were arguably better than average computer users. And still they would turn in papers with web fonts?

IV. Avoid turning in papers where the British style of spelling is utilized. Does it not look suspicious when you suddenly begin spelling:

  • Color as Colour
  • Analyze as Analyse
  • Skillful as Skilful
  • Theater as Theatre
So at the end of the day avoid being lazy and if you are going to be lazy about writing, do not be lazy about your research. Avoid Wikipedia, answer the question asked of you, consider fonts, and avoid the Kings English. Do these few things and your papers will be better than your classmates.

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