Dot writes: I was engaged in some rather tedious admin – correcting the list of students for a course that I co-ordinate, which is open to students outside the School of English and which has had a rather fluid membership – when I spotted something rather odd. At each lecture an attendance sheet is circulated for the students to sign. On the last sheet (Monday’s), the spelling of one of the signatures, which was not cursive but in a clear, rather childish hand, conspicuously did not match the spelling of the name as I had typed it. I wondered if I had made a mistake and looked back at the previous sheet. Here, the signature was in a different, much more fluent hand, and the spelling did match the typed list. Then I looked back again, and found the same name signed in yet a third hand. Perhaps the student just alternated between formal and casual handwriting? No: not only the degree of cursiveness but also the slope and, most telling, the letter formations varied between the three different types of signature (for example, one formed a capital R without lifting the pen, but the most frequently appearing signature has the bow of the R as a separate stroke that starts well to the left of the down-stroke). It seems this student has been getting her friends to sign the sheet on her behalf.
Anyway, what am I going to do about it apart from feeling faintly pleased with myself? Answer: not a lot. If she hasn’t been attending the lectures she won’t do well in the assessment, and that seems penalty enough.