6 Awesome Ideas to Avoid Plagiarism in a Coding Assignment
Plagiarism is a serious academic vice. It is duplicating someone's ideas or words without giving them credit. Copying codes directly from an online source, editing and paraphrasing information from a source, and using a direct quote without acknowledging the source are considered plagiarism. It is against the student code of conduct and due process of all academic institutions.
What does plagiarism mean for programmers?
The concept of plagiarism in computer science is a bit difficult to understand. Almost all written codes borrow ideas from some source or sections of a code, but is it ethical to use a section of someone’s code without giving them credit for it? Is there an alternative to this? There is not much difference between writing a code and drafting an academic paper. You must be creative when preparing both. Also, the same rules about intellectual property and copyright issues apply. Before you start writing code, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What does my university say about using code from outside sources?
- What are the guidelines for group studies and teamwork?
- How do I cite a borrowed code?
Plagiarism is now a significant concern among programming students. The demand for programmers well-versed in building mobile applications using Java, python back-end development, and creating GUI-based applications using C++ is rising. More and more students are now opting for tech-based courses in universities and colleges. With the number of programming students gradually increasing, plagiarizing codes is now becoming a norm.
There is no denying that programming is challenging. Also, there are still no standard guides on how to cite other people's codes. This is why most computer science students are struggling with plagiarism.
How to avoid plagiarism when writing your programming assignment
Most computer science students are scouring the internet for tips on how best to avoid plagiarism. Here is some valuable information on how you can eliminate this academic misconduct in your programming assignment:
Do not mix your ideas with what you have copied from an outside source
When working on your programming assignment, learn to separate your ideas from anything you have copied. You should never add unoriginal text to your code without providing a citation. Separating your original work from borrowed ideas makes it easy to cite. Remember that your professor can easily use a programming language plagiarism detector and tell you where you copied the code from. It would be best if you only used outside code from sources approved by your instructor, like open-source projects for academic purposes. Like writing an essay, you must also use legitimate and trustworthy sources.
Comment your code thoroughly
All programming languages allow the coder to include comments. Using comments in your code is a simple way of showing your instructor what is original work and what is not. Including comments helps you avoid plagiarism because you let the instructor know what you have borrowed from an outside source. Also, excellent comments show your professor that you thoroughly understand what you have prepared. Comments are like a guide to your program.
Use your variables and class names
Please make sure that you use original class and variable names whenever possible. Your professor will notice if you and your mates use the same series of programming statements and comments. Programming requires creativity and exploration. It would be best if you trusted your gut by brainstorming and coming up with a unique idea. This way, you will not have to worry about your code being unoriginal, even if it is passed through a checker.
Use effective plagiarism checker tools
A plagiarism detector provides you with a detailed report on the plagiarism status of your assignment. Most professors always insist that students use Turnitin. However, many free but useful tools can tell you the section of your code that has been plagiarized. Some websites also offer free plagiarism checkers to help students find copied but uncited work in their assignments.
Know your instructor’s rules on collaboration
While your coding assignment might pass the plagiarism check, your professor might still find you guilty of collaborating with a friend to complete the assignment. Discussing the assignment and using the same ideas can still be termed cheating. For this reason, you should understand when and how to collaborate on a project. To be on the safe side, we recommend that you use the code similarity checker tool.
Always consult your instructor
Some programming assignments have complex instructions. You might be tempted to copy someone's solution to get the assignment out of the way. When the assignment requirements are unclear, the first person you should consult is your professor. Working with your professor every step of the way ensures you get the guidance you need. Your instructor will not only clear all the doubts you might have but also guide you on how you should approach the assignment.
When should you cite your code?
Professors always expect their students to develop an original code and prove that they understand the material. However, some advanced programming projects require research and the incorporation of someone’s work. You might be wondering, when should I give credit? Here are some situations:
- When you have incorporated an algorithm, function, or an aspect of code created by someone else.
- When using someone else's concept or idea to craft your source code.
- When you have changed algorithm elements or variable names from someone’s code
A detailed citation of a code requires that you include the following information:
- Name of the author (Individuals or corporation)
- Date of publication
- The title of the source code or program
- The code version
- The type of code. It can be a source code or program
- Availability. Include the source URL or publisher
Programming has no standard citation format. However, depending on the programming language, you can include each citation in your comments. The header comments can act as your works cited list. So, you should include the full citation there.
The advancement in technology has made programming very popular in today's education. Technological courses such as software engineering and computer science are attracting many students. For this reason, there is a need to develop and improve the standards of citing and referencing coding material. While we wait for the standard, the best way to avoid plagiarism in your programming assignment is to be original. Instead of paraphrasing and tweaking codes already prepared by others, you should strive to develop a new idea and unique codes for your assignment. If you are creative enough, plagiarism will not be a problem. Citing the sources you have used in your work helps you maintain integrity and honesty. Also, noting the ideas you borrowed and where they came from makes your code easy to maintain.