Small complaints of academic life, an ongoing series:

One of my students needs to have their final grade changed. It's not a big deal (it does not involve re-grading anything) and under the circumstances I'm happy to do it. Duke has a rather stringent policy for how the changed grade must be communicated: printed on letterhead, with a bunch of information, and a real--not digital--signature. Failure to meet all these requirements means the change can be rejected. As an anti-fraud measure, it's comprehensible.

If this were really Duke they'd make you fax the letter, or send it via campus mail. But they also give you the option of scanning it and sending it via email. But surely this entirely defeats the purpose of requiring a handwritten signature on the letter. So why not just give in and allow electronic letterhead and a digital signature?

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