Educating computer programming students about plagiarism through use of a code similarity detection tool

Thanh Tri Le Nguyen, Angela Carbone, Judithe Irene Sheard, Margot Schuhmacher, Michael de Raadt, Chris Johnson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Technology empowers students but can also entice them to plagiarise. To tackle this problem, plagiarism detection tools are especially useful, not only in popular thinking as a deterrent for students, but also as an educational tool to raise students awareness of the offence and to improve their academic skills. Commercial text matching tools (e.g. Turnitin) are at a high level of maturity. These tools offer the ability to interact with students, making them suitable for an educational objective. Additionally, they can be readily integrated into learning environments enabling uniform application at an institutional level. On the other hand, computer source code matching tools, despite their successful detection performance, are mostly used as standalone tools that are difficult to adopt at an institutional level. The research presented in this paper describes the trial and evaluation of a tool that is seamlessly integrated into the Moodle virtual learning environment. The tool provides code similarity scanning capability within Moodle so that institutions using this learning environment could apply this tool easily at an enterprise level. Additionally, the educational aspects available in text matching tools have been added into the tool capability. The tool relies on two popular code matching services, MOSS and JPlag, as underlying engines to provide good code similarity scanning performance. The evaluation of the tool from both academics and students perspectives indicates a considerable level of interest in using the tool, and supports the suitability of this tool for wider institutional adoption in the computing education community.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2013 Learning and Teaching in Computing and Engineering - LaTICE
EditorsArnold Pears
Place of PublicationWashington DC USA
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Pages98 - 105
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9780769549606
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventInternational Conference on Learning and Teaching in Computing and Engineering (LaTiCE) 2013 - Macau, China
Duration: 21 Mar 201324 Mar 2013
Conference number: 1st


ConferenceInternational Conference on Learning and Teaching in Computing and Engineering (LaTiCE) 2013
Abbreviated titleLaTiCE 2013

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