check for fraud, cheating or plagerism

I'm teaching Autocad to a group of high school students and I would like to
know if there is any way I can check the files that they have save to make
sure they are authentic and not copied from somebody else. I was thinking
that I should be able to look at the date/time created and the date/time
modified. I would have to create a database the stores all of these and run
queries to find matches. If someone knows of an easier way please let me
Bob Leatherman
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Robert Leatherman
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That would depend on the type of drawing they are to produce, and how many of them there are. Are they supposed to be *precisely* identical? Are there hundreds of them?
You raise the issue of what's "authentic" in a technology that largely exists because it simplifies copying and erasing. If you are fit to teach AutoCAD to anyone, you should know that the measures you are proposing would only catch the clumsiest or laziest of cheaters.
Reply to
Michael Bulatovich
I dont have a direct answer to your question but I would suggest testing your students in a different manner. My teacher recently changed way he tests us. Instead of assigning us a project and asking us to return disks to him. He sits down with us for like 5 minutes and asks us questions about the program, questions about how you go about doing things in the program and asking us individual questions about our projects as to how we we were able to complete them. Depending on the amount of students you have that can be done in a class period.
Note: By mistake I used reply to sender the first time...
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I've never used them, but these should do what you want,
CompareDWG at
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or Automanager View4 (free trial)
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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Not to mention that corporate drafting and engineering departments stress standardization, so wouldn't copying be encouraged, even if the people doing it didn't understand exactly what was meant by "authorized copying?" Everywhere I have worked there were libraries of "authorized" detals to be used in design. That way you weren't reinventing the wheel every time.
But students need to understand the principle behind the invention of the wheel and then in the work place they don't have to reinvent it or try out designs for the wheel that won't work.
So I can see Robert's problem. Teach them to learn how to think in a culture that will eventually have them copying from past works.
I kind of like the method Xavier posted.
The teacher sits and talks to the student. The student either knows it or doesn't. This fact would become evident very quickly.
So the teacher would be performing a small job interview and this could be a big help to the student.
I just thought of another advantage to this method. Not only does it cause the student to think about the skills needed for the project but it also causes the student to learn to express thoughts and ideas concerning the project better. I can't think of an engineer anywhere who would see that as a bad thing.
The fact that the work may be copied bothers me on a certain level. Just because you found a former engineering design that shows it a certain way doesn't mean it was right. The design you copied from may have been faulty.
That's bad enough, but then if you try to alter it to fit your current design specs what aditional errors have crept in?
I've been told that is the reason for "authorized details" which are "approved" for copying. Just as whole engineering projects are checked by engineers and individual sheets are checked by engineers, so these details are checked by engineers.
Then all that is needed is to test a student's understanding of how a particular detail or method was created or chosen. Testing their ability to think and communicate, if you will.
I still like Xavier's method. You can't hide lack of skills for long in a conversation. That;s why we have job interviews.
Then I guess you end up with 3 kinds of students just like you do 3 kinds of employees.
One who must be led into doing good work. The second who must be pushed into doing good work. And the third who only needs you to let go of the reins and let them run. But even the last group need to be guided once in a while.
Thanks for listening.
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We had people come to an interview with their city and guilds certificate, plots of the wonderful 3D windmill they had drawn.
These same people could not pass a very basoc 3 minute drawing test....
IMHO That's the way to go. A very basic 3 minute test. You can tell a lot just by watching from a distance how they go about the test and you can check the results for accuracy.
If you want the test paper I can email it to you.
My 2p for what its worth.
Alan (cadalot)
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I think I deleted a couple of sentences from my post of unsolicited advice similar lines about how to run his class along since he wasn't asking for help with that. I agree. He's going about it all wrong, and his problem illustrates that fact, IMHO.
Put'em in a room with a stop watch and a problem and a computer, and yell "Go!".
Reply to
Michael Bulatovich
i learned autocad in highschool and it was rather hilarious that the kids who did copy each other never copied from a 'good' student. needless to say when the teacher finally got around to marking our work he'd see come across a number of drawings that had the exact same STUPID mistakes (some kids even forgot to change the name on the titleblock to their own....).
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Maybe I'm wrong but it sounds to me like he's not asking how to see if the students are copying each other, but if they are taking existing drawings from say, an arch. firm, engineering firm, etc. and using them as their own.
If that's the case, I'm not sure that you can check - unless these drawings have proxy objects in them that could not have been created using the autocad supplied to the students. Then again, if there are any students who work for or with any firms and have access to their autocad at work, then they could justify use of third party apps.
But in the end, the suggesstion of having them do an "in-class assignment" of something small enough to be drawn in an hour or so would be my way of testing them. I'd still make them do "at home" assignments" because a lot of the students will still do legit work and try to really learn the program. And yes, the suggestion of having a 5 minute interview with them about how they did their drawings and why would be a good indicator of whether or not they really did the work, or just copied and pasted someone elses work.
Reply to
Trey Monsour
That's funny, and so true.
In college, we used a CAD program, don't remember the name at all, something vaguely experimental. It was an introduction to the topic, taught as part of a mechanical engineering design class. There were only a few simple assignments.
Some people really disliked the graduate T.A. who taught the CAD portion of the class. So one of my more childish classmates created a tiny text entity that said something like, "Conrad Hunter sucks" [1]. It was about the size of a period, too small to read on a plotted page.
But the T.A. didn't grade using the plotted page. Instead, he used something like "LIST" and viewed text descriptions of the drawing. There were only supposed to be about 10 entities in most of our assignments. He had explained this to those who were paying attention. This was to make sure that we used, for example, a rectangle instead of four lines, or that we had placed the entities precisely instead of just by eye.
All I remember is that my classmate was very angry at his grade.
However, that give me another thought.
The ideas about a short test that is timed and monitored, and a short interview session, are probably the best ways to grade a student's progress. However, ...
Would it be possible to set up each student with a unique starting template, that contains their name or initials or ID number somewhere in the document? Or maybe in a block definition? Even a unique name for a block, custom line type, or a layer? Or the name of an attribute in a block (not the value of the attribute.
That way, if another student starts with somebody else's drawing, they will drag this evidence with them.
This would work as long as they don't know about PURGE or some of the block commands, but is there some less-used AutoCAD feature that would work like a tracer?
If a kid is bright enough to read the manual or use HELP, then they probably don't need to cheat. And if they cheat and are smart enough to cover their tracks, of course, that's indistinguishable from "success" in some cultures.
[1] spot the literary allusion.
Reply to
Steven M (remove cola to reply)
create log files.... logfilemode
i also ran a google search of past answers to this question...
#### posted: 1999/10/22
A simple and quite safe way would be to give them an lisp application that would be necessary to fulfill the given task (some automation like drawing a boarder with the current user's name or whatever else). In this app you can add a reactor that fires whenever AutoCAD shuts down. I would define the reactor so that it would attach XDATA with the actual time under an appname that is derived from the current user's login name. This way you would also be able to track back to find out who got it from whom and to see who made the original.
Would be fun to see the students faces when you confront them with your proof of their cheat :-)
****************************************** * Tom Berger * ******************************************
#### posted: 1999/10/22 (in response to the above post)
That would be along the same lines as what I would suggest; Add a routine that they would run that would submit their file with the log file (a start function would make sure its on).
The cheater's log file would be quite short. Some thing like, copy, exit.
P. Farrell ####
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I teach Autocad-based courses in an Associate's Degree program. My favorite evaluation method is the short job-interview-style drawing test. Not only does it give a fairly true picture of technical competency, but dramatically reduces the amount of wasteful grading that I have to do -- freeing up time for individual tutoring, inventing better assignments, etc. The incentive to actually do the day-to-day assignments comes from attendance requirements, and me walking around coaching everyone.
On the tests, preventing/catching cheats is easy. As several have pointed out, cheaters generally flaunt their stupidity by copying the most obvious errors. Also, unplugging the network switch can eliminate certain temptations.
I'll have to try grading from the DBLIST results... very cool idea.
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Would you send it to me?
-- My advice: When asking questions about CAD standards replace the words "CAD standards" with "underpants".
If the question is then ridiculous, then the question is ridiculous.
Michael Bulatovich - alt.cad.autocad
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I would love to see your test. When you email me it goes into earthlink spamblocker but I will retrieve and get back to you.
Thanks a lot.
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I'm busting a rib here. Seriously though this sounds like some of the technicians I've seen in the workplace. Scary isn't it.
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Yes, often conducted by HR people that don't have a clue either.
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I'm sure you have run into some. But I have a cousin who spent about 25 years in the HR field before she retired for health reasons. She specialized in technical and professional recruiting and she's told me some very interesting stories. A number of them were about good engineers or doctors, who become bosses and are terrible "hirers". She really opened my eyes about what a good HR person can do.
Reply to
Steven M (remove cola to reply)
You're absolutely right. That's why I changed my mind from the other day. I'm looking forward to getting that other poster's test via email.
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Hi Guys
Ive added a link on my How to Draw Page to the adobe file for the 3 Minute Test drawing.
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When originally running training courses this was one of the drawing exercises, originally when I dreamed it up I thought that I had made it far too easy. How wrong I was.....
The idea was to illustrate coordinates and accuracy, basic drawing skills, ways of working faster, the first time they drew it they had to draw each shape using co-ordinates and lines.
Then plines
They could then use offset.... if it was a pline
They learned how to offset from one location to another,
Then they learnt about rectangle, then offset again.
Then copy from a point to a specific relative point.
The shortest time an agency draughtsman has completed the drawing excluding dimensions is 3 minutes the longest was 30 minurtes the guy still had not completed and what he had drawn was not accurate.
I should have not let it go so long, but I could not believe my eyes.
I recommended to the chap he re-train or find a alternative form of empolyment.
Alan (Cadalot)
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See longer message, I have added to How to Draw Page at
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