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A teacher decided to stage an experiment with his students, having hidden a cash prize in a locker and buried the clues within his course’s syllabus to see if they’d actually read it.
Kenyon Wilson, a lecturer at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the US, posted the results of his ‘semester-long experiment’ on Facebook, showing a photo of the locker where he’d stashed the treasure.
He explained how he hid a $50 (£37) bill in a locker and put the directions on how to find it within the syllabus for his course.
However, after the semester came to an end, the cunning teacher went to the locker to find the money had not been found, suggesting his 70+ students hadn’t quite managed to get through the whole curriculum.
Wilson, an associate head of performing arts at the university, wrote: “My semester-long experiment has come to an end. At the start of the term, I placed $50 in one of our lockers and included the locker number & combination in my syllabus for a class with over 70 enrolled.
"Today I retrieved the unclaimed treasure. What academic shenanigans should I try next?”
The note in his syllabus had told students that there was a surprise ‘free to the first who claims’, saying it could be found at ‘locker one hundred forty-seven' and that the combination lock code was ‘fifteen, twenty-five, thirty five’.
Speaking to LADbible about the stunt, Wilson explained: “It's an academic trope that students don't read the syllabus.
“I've heard of professors leaving hidden instructions for how to skip an assignment or receive extra credit. So, I thought I would try something along that idea.
“At the start of the term, I placed $50 of my own money in one of our lockers, and you know the rest.”
He continued: “Was I surprised that the money was still there? In part, yes. But I'd be just as happy to have posted congratulating the student who first found the money and claimed it.
“I waited until the end of the term before opening the locker, so I've not had the chance to tell my students in person.
“My post last Wednesday was essentially my letting my students in on the secret.”
The picture has since gone viral, not only racking up 1,000 likes and 1,600 shares on Facebook, also garnering 124,000 likes over on Twitter, where it was reposted.
Wilson said: “Several of my students have posted screenshots of the syllabus as proof, and they have all taken it as a fun experiment.”
He added that some social media users had been saying the move was ‘evil’, but generally the response has been positive - including messages from current and former students.
Wilson said: “I've got great students, and this exercise was just having fun with them."
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