Asee peer logo

Detecting Plagiarism in SolidWorks CAD Courses

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

COED: Autograding and Autoadvising

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Webster R. Johnson California State University, Chico

visit author page

Dr. W.R. Johnson has been a researcher and university professor for the past four decades. He is currently a lecturer at California State University at Chico, lecturing in CAD, thermodynamics, numerical methods, material science and testing, dynamics, and heat transfer.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Our department has three different courses which uses SolidWorks. A common problem among the courses is plagiarism: students copy the work of others and submit it as their own, students recycle their previous work for a new assignment (self-plagiarism) or students use work downloaded from the internet as submit it as their own. In past years, typically each year 10 to 30 instances of plagiarsim were suspected but were always difficult to prove. A program called MMEM was written to extract read-only information from SolidWorks files: author, date of feature creation, date of feature last change. The program assembles the information along with students name in a spreadsheet in which violations are easily spotted. During the first year of using this program two cases of plagiarism were detected and the students failed their courses. As a result the rest of the students realized that their plagarism schemes were no long viable: no cases have been detected since. The abundant information also exposes false positives such as two students using the same computer and the same log-in but doing the same assignment at different times.

Johnson, W. R. (2018, June), Detecting Plagiarism in SolidWorks CAD Courses Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30286

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015