A University of Tennessee music professor hid a cash prize on campus to see if his students were reading the entire semester’s syllabus — only to find the $50 banknote he put in a locker still there at the end of the semester.
Kenyon Wilson, co-head of Tennessee Performing Arts in Chattanooga, decided to stash $50 in a random music locker and bury the group for the locker in the middle of his curriculum.
The hint reads: “Thus (free to whomever claims; treasury one hundred and forty-seven; group fifteen, twenty-five, thirty-five), students may be disqualified to make up classes and…”
He even went so far as to set the combination lock to a specific number to check if it had been moved.
But at the end of the semester, Wilson did not touch the $50 bill and the note attached to it by 70 Wilson students.
‘Congrats! Please leave your name and date so I know who found it,” the unread note asked.
A professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga hid a $50 cash prize on campus to test whether any of his 70 students would read the entire semester syllabus
When Kenyon Wilson, the college’s co-chair of the performing arts, returns to an enclosed space at the end of the semester, the treasury and cash prize are untouched.
Wilson shared the results of his experience on Facebook with a photo of the unclaimed award.
My semester-long experiment is over. At the beginning of the semester, I put $50 into one of our lockers and included the locker number and batch in my syllabus for a class of over 70 enrollees. Today I retrieved the unclaimed treasure.
“What academic tricks should I try next?”
Wilson waited to check out the locker until after the final exams were done.
“I had high hopes, and I would be happy to have this conversation if one of my students finds it in the first week.” Wilson told CNN.
He shared that all of his students were “good sports” about the joke.
“I know my students read, and I don’t expect them to religiously pass word by word, but if they did, I wanted to reward them.” Wilson said.
Haley Decker was one of the students who failed to claim the Wilson cash prize.
“I honestly thought it was funny.” Decker told CNN. This class is usually the same format in each term, so students know what to expect and don’t take the time to read the syllabus as they should.
Wilson expected that none of his students would read the syllabus word for word but wanted to reward anyone who did so
Wilson shared his prank on Facebook as it went viral with fellow teachers sharing similar tricks they used and others sharing suggestions for future classes.
Decker texted her classmates, who she said all appreciated the joke.
“I think this was a really smart experiment for Dr. Wilson to test,” Decker said. “This has certainly made music students realize that despite the repeated information, you still have to read your syllabus carefully.”
Wilson’s post sharing his joke on social media went viral with his original Facebook post which amassed 1,800 shares and tweets for his post which has amassed over 10,000 likes.
Most of those who answered were amused by Wilson’s joke, and many agreed that they had never read the school’s classroom syllabus. Others encouraged Wilson to repeat his trick.
“Just do it again, it’s great!” Caroline Yeezer commented.
Brent Barnett suggested “Add to it every year until someone gets the prize.”
Craig L. wrote. Millard: “I laughed at this, but it hurt a little too.”
Jason Gunilla suggested “include page 3 of the syllabus to email you a dinosaur picture for a free A”.
Music Students Wilson at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Were ‘Good Sports’
Others on social media shared pranks they played with their students or tried them on from their professors.
I tried it once, and I didn’t get any response like the teacher in the original post. Nobody reads the note! Valerie J. said: Andrews.
“I have a professor friend who puts an email ‘monkey picture for extra credit’ into her syllabus,” Neil Hunt recalls.
“I draw a picture of a camel on the first test” in my curriculum, Pamela Johnston said.
Wilson is pleased with the reaction of his students and fans online.
“Spring 2022 is probably the most read curriculum ever,” he said.