Yes, students can edit Word last saved date and other meta data

A question came up within my social media circle about student integrity, and referring to a document/file’s “meta data” as evidence of student integrity. While I too want to believe students are not doing anything dishonest, it is very easy to edit the meta data of a document, to make it appear that it was last saved at some earlier date, for example.

Look, I will show you. Feel free to check out the meta data of the file here, which I (Erika Sanborne) just created myself on my own laptop today, 11/15/2021. Go ahead – check out the meta data.

image depicts a woman writing on a dry erase board with “lies” and “truth” pointing in opposite directions

I can make a Word document’s meta data say anything, my friends, and so can your students. <3 If you don’t want to download my file, here are screenshots of the meta data you’ve been trusting:

original file:

original meta data

revised file:

fake meta data that I put into the file

About Erika Sanborne

Erika is an award-winning, long-time educator, who consults with individual faculty and administrators on how to meet their teaching goals. She is now also a population health researcher and sociology PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota, which means for now, she is a senior adjunct professor, a consultant, a research assistant, and a PhD Candidate, all at the same time. This has enhanced her understanding of the teaching and learning issues we're facing in academia today on all fronts.

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