Wired Campus: Online Professors Pose as Students to Encourage Real Learning
a small group of “ghost students” that academics in Indiana, Connecticut, and South Africa have injected into online courses to kick-start discussions among students, keep them from dropping out, and spy on their communications.
The deceit has provoked questions about faculty ethics. Two of the professors admit that their unreal students teeter on an ethical precipice, because the technique could be abused. Others in the distance-education community accuse them of falling over the cliff. The critics worry such behavior could scar the image of an education sector many still regard with skepticism.