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
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.
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.
By mistake I used reply to sender the first time...
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
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
Thanks for listening.
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
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.
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
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....).
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
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" .
It was about the size of a period, too small to read on a plotted
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.
 spot the literary allusion.
create log files.... logfilemode
i also ran a google search of past answers to this question...
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.
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.
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
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.
Ive added a link on my How to Draw Page to the adobe file for the 3
Minute Test drawing.
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.
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