Coding is considered to be a basic literacy today in the digital age. Learning computer programming helps students prepare for the future. With more and more students joining computer science, there is an increasing tendency for students to commit source code plagiarism.
Knowledge of coding makes students in colleges and universities digitally fluent. They sometimes use their coding skills to gain an unfair advantage when doing programming assignments, writing papers, and taking tests. In the process, they indulge in plagiarism accidentally. With a code plagiarism checker, students can avoid any source code plagiarism by acknowledging the original source created appropriately.
What is code plagiarism?
Plagiarism in other fields, which involve a lot of research and writing, has been continuously discussed, and there are several rules and regulations set to prevent it. Nevertheless, coding is comparatively a new field, and students or users have little knowledge about the rules with regard to the techniques, styles, and citation standards. What is code plagiarism? If you put it in simple terms, it is using someone’s source code as if it is your own. Code plagiarism has been around since the 1990s.
Students generally struggle with coursework, and therefore, are tempted to use source code from other sources to complete their assignments. They have little knowledge of citation rules and commit unintentional plagiarism. It is with the instructor or an educational institution to help students know what constitutes plagiarism in coding.
In the software development field, collaboration is encouraged, while it is generally unacceptable in other fields. This leaves an element of ambiguity in students who take the code from ‘open source’ as it is free and accessible to anyone, and maybe, without giving credit.
Students have to complete the programming projects for individual assessment. Before starting the project, they should be made clear about the importance of citing a code or writing an original code on their own for assessment. They must also be familiarized with programming and plagiarism and the rules regarding citation and copyright.
Example of code plagiarism
Students are accused of committing verbatim plagiarism, which is lifting a complete line of code and using it in their work, without effecting any changes. The other example of code plagiarism is altering the code to have more of your own code than that in the original source. This results in a coding error.
How to avoid it?
When it comes to avoiding plagiarism in coding, one needs to deal with two aspects, document plagiarism, and source code plagiarism. The first one is using the same content of the text, including the images, while the other is using a programming code from the original source as your own. Students can avoid code plagiarism if they:
- Write Code from Scratch
Explain and clarify the purpose of the student assessments and expectations. Students should prove their skills by writing code from scratch and should not copy it online. For instance, a student can give an effective solution to a source code found online by editing and improving it.
- Use Comparison Tools
You can compare your work using a similarity checking tool to find any similarities in coding. With this, you can check for plagiarism and correct it.
- Use of Open or Third-Party Source
Students should know when and how to use source code from an open-source. With innumerable sources online, it is difficult to find a reliable source. Using open sources for gathering ideas or research will help you avoid coding plagiarism. However, you can use someone’s work in an academic setting by citing it appropriately, so that the original creator will receive the credit for the work he or she did.
- Use a Plagiarism Checker
Students or users should avoid any situation of code plagiarism. By following the guidelines given above and using a code plagiarism checker, they can develop their coding skills.