Plagiarism in e-Learning

Introduction to Plagiarism in e-Learning

Plagiarism means imitating or copying intellectual properties of others without any acknowledgement. This was done for a long time for many purposes having the intention of theft or not.This phenomenon has increased rapidly in higher education sector like universities. Due to the fast development of technology, it is easy to collect the assignments of students via internet, but the lecturers faced a problem in correcting and checking the quality of the assignments. This has been a difficult task as going through the assignments and detecting plagiarized documents is a tedious work which is time consuming. Most plagiarism checking software available in the market are too much expensive and open source software usage for plagiarism is low and unreliable, therefore education sectors in developing countries cannot afford to use them. Also available open source learning management software like "Moodle" are lack of plagiarism detection module.Therefore, the idea has been arisen for developing a system for detecting plagiarism of students’ assignments and marking them easily.


  • A system facilitated with plagiarism searching methods which is an open source software with the ability of integrating inside Moodle.
  • Lecturers can mark assignments easily by searching the plagiarism of the assignments.
  • Final goal is to contribute avoiding the plagiarism in education sector and increase the quality of learning process.


The system basically is a web based module which can be integrated inside moodle. Users who logged to LMS can access the plagiarism module. It contains main three algorithms and plagiarism of a certain pair of assignments can be checked from three ways. Those methods are Advanced Matching Model (Ngram), Middle level Matching Model (Vector Space) and Basic Maching Model (Boolean). About the searching models several researches are done and papers are published on that.

  • Users can upload a single file or a directory (Directories are saved in the uploads folder by the name of the directory name)
  • Uploading documents can be in .txt, .pdf, .doc or .docx formats.
  • System can search the documents for plagiarism in three ways and final reports are prepared with ranking the documents on detected ratio of plagiarism as descending order.
  • The pdf format of the plagiarized documents can be viewed from the system with the copied areas highlighted.
  • For the .docx documents system can check plagiarism for the similarities for formats.
  • Users can compare their documents for plagiarism with any other documents which are previously uploaded to the system. ex: last year assignments
  • User can choose files for plagiarism in two ways. He/She can match a single file with a collection of files, a collection of files with its own and a collection of files with another collection of files.
  • Further developments are being executed using natural language processing and intrinsic plagiarism detection.

Published Papers

  1. Ranatunga, R.V.S.P.K., Athkorale, A.S., Hewagamage, K.P., An Integrated Framework for Detecting Plagiarism in e-Learning Systems, e-Asia Conference, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2009.
  2. Ranatunga, R.V.S.P.K., Athkorale, A.S., Hewagamage, K.P., Enhancing the Detection of Plagiarism with Document Formatting Property Analyzer, International Symposium, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, 2010.


  • K.K. Dinesha Priyadarshanee - University of Colombo School of Computing
  • R.V.S.P.K. Ranathunge - University of Sabaragamuwa
  • Dr. K.P. Hewagamage - University of Colombo School of Computing
  • Dr. A.S. Athukorale - University of Colombo School of Computing