Code plagiarism in computer science

The seriousness of source code plagiarism extends beyond the terms of copying and borrowing someone else's work. For most people, the most common form of plagiarism takes place in educational institutions. Even in universities where plagiarism isn't rampant, it only takes a few cases for it to become a widespread problem. There is no reason to ignore a practice that has robbed countless people of their time and hard work.

What Qualifies As Code Plagiarism?

Source code plagiarism is defined as copying or reproducing source code without written permission from the original creator. That includes adapting the code minimally, moderately or including fragments of the original author's code in your own code. Converting the original code to a different programming language is still plagiarism, although there are arguments that there is a fine line. For classroom settings, using a code generator falls under the plagiarism umbrella and is usually frowned upon for other reasons (using third party software to complete an assignment). Classroom assignments will usually be upfront about the use of such methods when doing a graded project.

When Is It An Issue In The Classroom?

Plagiarism is always an issue in the classroom, even when the student doesn't follow through with the offending piece. Cheating prevents the student from learning how to properly program and encourages them to take shortcuts. In a professional setting where each line of code counts, this can be catastrophic to the viability of the business. But for students that get through class with high marks using plagiarized content, it teaches them that this is a correct way to go through life. Training a student or a group of students out of this mindset is harder on the teacher than it is on the student.

Some Examples Of Code Plagiarism

Oddly enough, verbatim plagiarism is still a problem in school settings. This is when a student lifts entire lines of code and inserts them into their own work without making a change. Not all students get caught doing this, which is exactly why it becomes a common trend in the classroom. Another way to do this is altering the code just enough so that it contains more of their own code than the original creators. This causes a lot of bugs/errors to plague the code, but doesn't always give away the students ill intentions.

The Damage Done By Cheating In The Classroom

Careers have been lost over plagiarism that wasn't left in check. The big problem here is that it's the adults in charge that take the brunt of the damage. Students are young and can recover from a fallout based on plagiarism. But claims of cheating can alter the career of a teacher, professor and even the educational institution in charge. Those that teach computer science are held to a much higher standard than their students, so being prepared is the best way to prevent it from becoming a problem.

There Is Never An Excuse For Plagiarism

Students that get caught plagiarizing code are often let off the hook or given a failing grade. Neither one of these circumstances puts the weight of cheating on the shoulders of the student. Letting a cheater off easy sends the wrong message. If the student is cheating off of another in the classroom, then that bad message is magnified. Plagiarism should actively be rooted out and put on display so that everyone knows it is wrong. And with coding where there are lifetime consequences for copying code, this becomes a valuable lesson to learn as a student.

A Solution Exists

Instead of suspecting plagiarism, you can be 100% sure of its existence with code plagiarism detection tools. The Codequiry platform was created with the idea that code plagiarism in computer science is not a small blip. It is a rising problem, and needs to be dealt with in a quick, precise and ultimately discreet way. Multiple languages are supported, so the engine has no problem finding code that was ported over to a new language. Teachers can use Codequiry like a badge in class to scare students away from the thought of cheating. With the right mindset, computer science plagiarism will become a rare annoyance.

Using The Tool To Gain An Advantage

What makes Codequiry so effective at code plagiarism detection? The platform uses proprietary code similarity algorithms and combines it with an ever-growing database of past submissions. Codequiry uses past plagiarist's submissions as their own tools of destruction. If a submission is absent from the database, then the algorithms do the heavy lifting to spot cheating. Computer science code is founded on heavy ethical standards that are not always followed. Teachers have to set students right before sending them out into the real world, and Codequiry can be a big part of that process. To find out more about the Codequiry tool and how it can help fight against plagiarism. Get started now