As educators, we constantly look for ways to engage our students. We want to provide students with meaningful and relevant activities to help them understand and engage with the material. In today’s classrooms, our students often come from various backgrounds and have vastly different motivation levels. We must equip our students with the tools to successfully learn and develop new skills while enabling them to grow intellectually. 

By creating alternative assessments and incorporating activities involving collaboration and problem-solving instead of essay writing, teachers can make learning exciting and reduce the potential of cheating with tools like ChatGPT. In other words, both parties benefit – teachers do not have to worry about cheating, while students enjoy engaging in activities that keep them focused and engaged.


Cheating has unfortunately become an ongoing issue in students’ education. With the development of essay generators like ChatGPT, it is too easy for students to acquire quick and plagiarized essays. Educators should be mindful of this issue when assigning essays, but what to do? There are plenty of alternative projects that foster students’ critical thinking skills effectively!

One of these activities is VISUAL ESSAYS.

I employ Visual Essays to engage students in the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. I am always surprised by their work. This assignment is also rewarding for students – a helpful way to study, a different assignment, and a way to engage visual learners.

A VISUAL ESSAY is an innovative instructional approach that can increase student engagement and comprehension when understanding complex texts like philosophy or literature. This alternative assessment brings together various visual elements that illustrate key points from the text. These visual elements allow readers to interpret and understand the text at a much deeper level than written essays as they engage visual and data literacy skills. VISUAL ESSAYS allow students to express their interpretations and analysis of a text through visual media, providing a creative and exciting way to demonstrate their understanding of the text. With VISUAL ESSAYS, teachers can also get a more visual insight into how their students view the texts they are analyzing. This new type of assessment is a valuable tool for students and teachers to understand complex texts better.

Additionally, VISUAL ESSAYS employ a dual coding process based on the idea of learning based that knowledge acquisition should utilize a dual pathway approach, where visual and verbal stimuli are used to facilitate understanding and recall. A strong proponent of dual coding theory was Allan Paivio, who believed that a way to engage and motivate students was by utilizing dual coding activities in the classroom. By combining visual cues such as notes and diagrams with verbal cues such as lectures and discussions, students can better understand and retain the concepts being taught. Therefore, during Socratic Seminars, my students outside the circle engage in Visual Notetaking to represent what the inner circle is discussing. 

VISUAL ESSAYS offer a unique opportunity for students to express their knowledge, creativity, and understanding in a visual format. They also provide a creative outlet for learners and eliminate the potential of plagiarism or cheating on assessments. It is evident why these essays are an effective assessment method and present a way to reduce the potential effects of cheating using GhatGPT and other online platforms.

Do you have feedback on this topic or other posts in this series? Share them in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Linda Jennifer

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