The dog ate my computer and other contemporary student excuses

At IHE, Scott Jaschik has a piece about a site that sells corrupted files to students as a way to get a few extra hours or days to finish an assignment. The idea is that the student submits a corrupted file, it takes the instructor a while to figure this out, in the meantime the student finishes the assignment.

Although I’ve never had students send me corrupted files, I’ve certainly had them supposedly send me attachments that weren’t there in reality. Of course, most people have, at one time or another, forgotten to attach a file to an email so it’s hard to assume it’s always intentional, but one wonders.

The piece made me reflect on what other excuses are emerging in the new digital environment that weren’t in vogue earlier. I’ve had students claim to have lost their Internet connection at home making it difficult to meet a deadline. While on the one hand, I tend to be skeptical of this, ISPs are sufficiently bad that it’s not completely implausible. What’s your favorite digital-era bogus excuse?

As a tribute to old excuses that presumably some still use, here’s a link to the “The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome and the Potential Downfall Of American Society” [or pdf] by Mike Adams in case there are people who haven’t seen it yet.

3 Responses to “The dog ate my computer and other contemporary student excuses”

  1. Christian Says:

    I admit that once in desperation I’ve sent someone an email claiming the attachment was there but (intentionally) there was no attachment. It bought me a few precious hours. I am not proud of it.

    On the other hand, I still *accidentally* send emails without the attachment all the time despite my best efforts. So maybe I should use that gambit more — seems like an ironclad excuse. This year, anyway.

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  3. David S. Says:

    When I was at Northwestern, a friend told me that he would do this when he needed more time and, for whatever reason, couldn’t get or didn’t want to ask for an extension. Disappointing, I’d say.