Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Preventing Plagiarism in the Online Art Classroom

The risk of plagiarism in the classroom is not a new concern. However, we are used to seeing it in the form of writing. In the online art classroom because I do not see my students completing work, I am vulnerable to the risk of receiving plagiarized work from the Internet. Especially with sites like DeviantArt, students have many places online that they could find amateur artworks to pass off as their own. So how do I make sure students are submitting their own work? Part of what I do is pay attention to style and quality of work submitted. If I have a student submit something that is clearly above the level of previous work they have submitted, that is a red flag. If I receive a drawing that has very low resolution (especially 72dpi) this is also a red flag. However, just because I think it is plagiarism does not mean I can prove it. For this, Google image search is a wonderful tool so I have created a step-by-step guide you can easily use if you are ever suspicious about student work.

Step 1:
Go to Google.com and click on Images
 Step 2:
Once in Image Search, click on the camera icon

Step 3:
Click upload image (make sure you save a copy of the image in question)
Step 4:
Click browse and find the image on your computer
Step 5:
Once submitted you will see one of several things. Google may provide you with a best guess of what the image's search terms were (you would then click on the link for "sketches of rooms"). It also will provide you with visually similar images and sometimes the image in question is present right there!
Here is another example of what you may see. Sometimes you won't see the image in the list of similar images but Google will provide you a list of websites where the image is present. If you have the option to click "All sizes", make sure you do as this will widen your search and help catch students who are clever and re-size the image before submitting it.

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