High-tech corruption joins old-school cheating

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By Shannon Higgins

The newest trend in academic dishonesty lets panic-stricken students pay for extensions.

At Corrupted-Files.com, students with $5 can buy more time to finish a paper by purchasing a corrupted file to hand in.

The site explains: “It will take your professor several hours if not days to notice your file is ‘unfortunately’ corrupted. Use the time this website just bought you wisely and finish that paper!”

While no Ryerson University students have been caught handing in corrupted files, faculty and administration are well aware of the new fad, according to Ryerson’s academic integrity officer Donna Bell.

“It would be considered academic misconduct because you are tampering with the scholarly environment trying to gain an advantage to get more time. And you are gaining an advantage over other students.”

An “intent to deceive” merits a minimum penalty of zero on the assignment and is often upgraded to a failing grade in the course. A lot of instructors go straight to the ‘F’ because [the student’s actions] show no respect for the learning environment, said Bell.

Though most students caught cheating at Ryerson get busted for plagiarism, others are more creative. Some people design innocuous looking labels for water bottles and calculators. In classes where CPS clickers are used, some students take turns studying and have one person answer test questions for multiple people.

Less savvy cheaters resort to pulling fire alarms during tests. And although false alarms have been on the decline at Ryerson in recent years, security supervisor Imre Juurlink, said it’s always an issue.

“Kerr Hall is just horrendous for it… it’s just bad on all levels.”

In the past, Ryerson has hired hallway supervisors and has worked with fire marshals to turn off alarms during exams.

Ryerson isn’t the only university dealing with false alarms. York University recently formed a Exam/Mid-Term Disruption Task Force after a series of classroom disruptions during midterms last year.

The taskforce, chaired by York University Registrar Joanne Duklas, aims to develop response strategies and will eventually make procedure recommendations.

“It’s totally inappropriate and it will be dealt with as a criminal matter. It’s not inexpensive and it’s not where money should be going. It’s incredibly stressful for students,” Duklas said.

Students caught pulling a fire alarm at Ryerson without good reason face suspension or expulsion. “If they are caught, it will not be pretty,” Bell said.

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