Ryerson instructors have a new guide to prevent visual plagiarism and educate students on why it is important to avoid.
The document outlines the importance of submitting original work, both in writing and visuals.
Colleen Schindler-Lynch, assistant professor at the Ryerson School of Fashion, says it was necessary to increase awareness of how serious image plagiarism is. “I find that people understand literary plagiarism very well but don’t really understand that you can’t just go online and grab an image and submit it as your own,” said Schindler-Lynch.
Image plagiarism can also include going online, seeing something and re-creating it. “In the Pinterest generation, people think they can see something they like and construct a version of that,” said Schindler-Lynch.
The document outlines a list of what is considered a visual, including photographs, maps, charts and more. It guides instructors on how to address and prevent the act by reviewing it with students and discussing its seriousness.
A person who has plagiarized may be offered workshops to become educated on the seriousness of the act. However, Schindler-Lynch said that these workshops tend to be more geared towards literary plagiarism. There will soon be specific workshops to address image plagiarism.
“The intention is to develop workshops that are more subject matter specific and deal with image plagiarism,” said Schindler-Lynch. As someone who teaches illustration-based courses, Schindler-Lynch found it particularly frustrating that there were no workshops specifically for visual plagiarism.