The Shadow Scholar

This article first appeared in 2010 in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The author uses ‘Ed Dante’ as a pseudonym.

The request came in by e-mail around 2 in the afternoon. It was from a previous customer, and she had urgent business. I quote her message here verbatim (if I had to put up with it, so should you): “You did me business ethics propsal for me I need propsal got approved pls can you will write me paper?”

I’ve gotten pretty good at interpreting this kind of correspondence. The client had attached a document from her professor with details about the paper. She needed the first section in a week. Seventy-five pages.

I told her no problem.


One of the extraordinary things about teaching and learning online is the reality that there is a record or everything you do. Your skill and ability is there on the page and retrievable from the database. 

It’s hard to fake expertise in a performance based environment. It’s much harder to fake your way through a semester’s worth of discussions than it is to buy a paper. (Almost anything is possible in both face to face and virtual education.)


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