Crime Does Pay

NYU Professor Learns It Doesn’t Pay to Catch Cheating Students

Do you feel lucky, punk?

Prof.  recently won tenure at the NYU Stern School of Business, where he teaches in the information systems department. With this added layer of protection, Dr. Ipeirotis decided to dig a little deeper into which of his students might be plagiarizing their assignments. He ran their work through Turnitin, which compares student papers against hundreds of millions of previous assignments, academic journals and the like.  By the end of the semester 22 students out of a class of 108 admitted to cheating and several were expelled from his class.

It was a moral victory, to be sure, but rather than simply celebrating, Dr. Ipeirotis did what anyone with a serious engineering bent would, he analyzed the cost of catching these perpetrators. In all, he calculated, it took 45 hours to catch and coax confessions out of these students. With one in five students a convicted plagarist, classes became quite awkward. At the end of the year Dr. Ipeirotis saw his score from student evaluations drop from above to below average, which meant that despite getting tenure, he received his lowest salary increase ever. Read More

Paywalls

Google App Store Now Offering Way to Cheat WSJ Paywall

Gives new mean to the phrase "just Google it"

One of the more interesting dichotomies to develop in the software ecosystem over the past few years has been the open nature of Google’s app stores versus the closed and controlled marketplace maintained by Apple.

A new app in the Chrome store, Read WSJ, lets users get access to stories protected by the paywall without paying for a subscription the Wall Street Journal. It’s the perfect example of the sort of viral application that a permissive marketplace fosters.

It’s also the sort of thing that is going to produce big headaches for Google, which has had little luck in securing partnerships with the music, television and publishing industries.  Read More