Serverless Automated Assessment of Programming Assignments

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Perustieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Web Technologies, Applications, and Science
Degree programme
Master’s Programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences
64 + 7
This thesis explores the use of serverless technology for automating the assessment of programming assignments (AAPA). The aim of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of serverless solutions for AAPA, and to explore the potential benefits and challenges of using serverless technology in learning management systems. The research questions addressed in this study are: (1) How serverless solutions for AAPA affect the response time of grading? (2) How much does the serverless solution impact infrastructure cost? (3) What are the environmental aspects of moving from locally hosted VM-based solutions to cloud-based serverless solutions? To answer these research questions, a design science research methodology was used to design and implement a prototype solution for serverless AAPA. The solution was implemented using AWS API Gateway, SQS, DynamoDB and Lambda, and it was evaluated through experiments with real-world programming exercises. The results of the experiments showed that the serverless solution was able to significantly improve the response time of grading programming assignments in bursts, compared to a locally hosted VM-based solution. Additionally, the serverless solution was potentially able to reduce infrastructure costs, as it only used resources when needed, and it was able to scale automatically to handle varying levels of traffic. The environmental impact of serverless technology for programming exercise assessment was also explored. The findings suggest that serverless technology can have a positive impact on the environment by reducing energy consumption, carbon emissions and hardware lifecycle management. However, there are also limitations and challenges to using serverless technology for programming exercise assessment, such as data privacy and security. Overall, this thesis provides a framework for future research and development in the field of serverless AAPA and highlights the potential benefits and challenges of using serverless technology in learning management systems.
Hellas, Arto
Thesis advisor
Sarsa, Sami
serverless, assessment, sustainability, cloud-computing, automated, finops