Monday, September 7, 2015

Another from the Academic Hero Series. Sent in by a longtime correspondent.

I'm not sure I want to call out this person, or this blog, under my own "identity," but I was pretty shocked to see this.

The article is innocuous enough:

Effective Motivation for College Students to Study
August 18th, 2015
By Linda Merill

"Often, what discourages students to study is not the inherent difficulty of a subject or task. Instead, it is their loss of motivation that hinders them from tackling a boring or even difficult subject.

Thankfully though, there are ways to give motivation for college students to study and complete any school related task. After all, they will be able to reap the undeniably rewarding feeling of success in the end. Listed below are a few tips to help students get motivated to start working and to do what needs to be done..."

So who is this Linda Merill person?

Linda Merrill is a professional writer and content creator at writing services like for college and university students. She loves to write about college life is exactly what you think it is.


  1. I am so aghast that I can't think of anything snarkyfunny to say.

    OK, the advice on motivation is benign enough, but I am stunned that the imprimatur of Stanford is being used to pimp a paper-for-hire "service".

    1. I was curious about the Stanford bit, so I checked out the guy whose name is on the top of the page....looks like someone's been writing his own Wikipedia entry...

    2. I, too, am flabbergasted.

      Taken by itself, if "Linda Merrill's" article/essay is meant to be a sample of her ability to produce a text that could plausibly be turned in by a college student who is still struggling a bit with English as a second language, and doesn't want to set off any alarms with a too-perfect submission, but would like to (just) pass, then fair enough. I can't really think of a college-level assignment to which the article would serve as an acceptable response, but, leaving aside the lack of any real argument/meaning (which is not unknown in student papers), the prose hits about the right level.

      How it ended up, without comment, on Kirst's blog, is another question. Hacking? Delegation of obtaining blog content to extremely incompetent underling? Delegation to some sort of automatic web-scraping program? Sudden onset insanity/senility?

      Should someone alert Michael Kirst and/or John Hennessy and/or Jerry Brown and/or Bill Gates? Kirst sounds like a busy guy, and there's no shame in letting your blog lie fallow when things get busy, but this is ridiculous.

      At least I suppose it makes us look good by comparison. At least when we link to cheating sites, we know that we're doing it (and usually have a purpose, such as mocking them and/or warning each other of a new site and/or tactic in mind).

  2. That has to be the most brazen cheating site this side of Ashley Madison. No "These essays are intended to serve as models of good writing" disclaimer, just a popup menu with prices.

  3. Don't worry, all. There's a badge saying that the essays are all "100% Plagiarism Free!"

  4. Error 404 - Page Not Found

    Looks like someone got in touch with him, and he took it down.

    Still, it's pretty incredible that an education professor and President of the California State Board of Education could end up with a piece written by an admitted cheat (or, to be more accurate, cheat enabler) on his own, Stanford University-based website.

    Personally, I think that rather than (or in addition to) taking it down, he should have published on his blog an explanation of how it got up there in the first place. Hacking? Placed there by a student assistant? Basic inattention to detail?

    1. Well, that's an improvement, I suppose. Maybe he has a google alert on his name? But I, too, would like to see some explanation -- of what happened in this case, and of why he's posting other people's articles, wholesale, without even a bit of commentary. After all, if you don't have anything original to say, you can always post nothing. Or post a picture of a duck. Dr. Kirst could definitely learn a thing or two from Terry P.