In this age of rapid digitization and automation, the popularity of ICT education at most universities has evidently skyrocketed. With an increasing number of students studying CS courses, the workload for educators has also increased significantly. Because of this, we often observe a pattern across universities wherein educators only conduct a final examination at the end of the course rather than have assignments periodically throughout the course duration. Teachers rightly point out that they do so primarily because they simply lack resources and time to examine a large number of student submissions and provide feedback individually.
Students note that the lack of formative assessment with feedback does not help much with the learning process and is often discouraging for newcomers. For instance, at the University of Edinburgh, Dr Volker Seeker has been teaching ‘Introduction to Object Oriented Programming’ for a couple years and he mentions that they traditionally only had a final exam for this course because of the difficulty involved in providing feedback to everyone and the lack of efficient tools to check for plagiarism on the Java code. This final exam created a strong sense of dissatisfaction among students, especially for beginners, since they only had a limited time of 2 hours to solve the programming exercises. This was clearly discouraging particularly for students who were keen on learning programming skills and would have preferred to receive feedback regularly.