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C12-05 MOSS

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Software Profile

ID C12-05
Product MOSS Moodle Plugin
Company Zhigang Sun
Web Site
Software Type Online Service
Costs None
Test Date 2012-03-29


Ranking for all tests: 5
Ranking for Source Code Test: 2
Ranking for Text Test: 0
Summary: Partially Useful


A research group at Stanford University has a system for detecting plagiarism that is a plugin for the popular eLearning system Moodle, MOSS# (Measure of Software Similarity). The development started in 1994, long before Moodle was developed, with the intention of finding plagiarisms in the programs handed in by students. MOSS is able to analyse programs in a wide variety of programming languages.

The plugin was installed on a fresh installation of Moodle version 2.2 on a virtual server. There is an option to check for using plagiarism detection software (there are other systems possible). Two user accounts were set up for submitting the originals and the copies. A base file can also be submitted with the exercise text, this will not be regarded as plagiarism. After the students have submitted their work and the system synchronizes the files, the plagiarism detection is run and the results are presented to the teacher, giving an overview of the plagiarisms found.

Clicking on one of the plagiarisms gives a nice side-by-side presentation, with different parts of identical text shown in different colors. The only problem is that one cannot scroll simultaneously in both texts. Unfortunately, there is no printable report, it just cuts off at the end of the page. The system handily accepted .java files, but completely refused to work with .txt files, so the text test could not be run.

There is a commercial version of the software available from the company Similix that can be installed locally, and Stanford offers the use of Moss to anyone who registers with their site.

In summary, this is the second best system to use for finding collusion in program code, but is unfortunately not at all useful for text.

Screenshot 1: Settings

Screenshot 2: Overview

Screenshot 3: TXT Error


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