Of late the Internet has spawned some very interesting historical hoaxes. My current favorite is Boilerplate. Mechanical Marvel of the Nineteenth Century. Another recent example is the Old Negro Space Program documentary about America’s now forgotten Blackstronauts.
I think it’s easy to imagine a student finding his or her way to one of these websites and then writing a paper that draws heavily on what he or she found there. After all, the Boilerplate spoof took in comedian Chris Elliot. So if a sophisticated writer for television shows such as David Letterman can be fooled, why not our typical 18 year old freshman?