License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0)
When quoting this document, please refer to the following
DOI: 10.4230/OASIcs.ICPEC.2023.9
URN: urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-185058
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Freitas, Tiago Carvalho ; Costa Neto, Alvaro ; Pereira, Maria João Varanda ; Henriques, Pedro Rangel

NLP/AI Based Techniques for Programming Exercises Generation

OASIcs-ICPEC-2023-9.pdf (0.6 MB)


This paper focuses on the enhancement of computer programming exercises generation to the benefit of both students and teachers. By exploring Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) methods for automatic generation of text and source code, it is possible to semi-automatically construct programming exercises, aiding teachers to reduce redundant work and more easily apply active learning methodologies. This would not only allow them to still play a leading role in the teaching-learning process, but also provide students a better and more interactive learning experience. If embedded in a widely accessible website, an exercises generator with these Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods might be used directly by students, in order to obtain randomised lists of exercises for their own study, at their own time. The emergence of new and increasingly powerful technologies, such as the ones utilised by ChatGPT, raises the discussion about their use for exercise generation. Albeit highly capable, monetary and computational costs are still obstacles for wider adoption, as well as the possibility of incorrect results. This paper describes the characteristics and behaviour of several ML models applied and trained for text and code generation and their use to generate computer programming exercises. Finally, an analysis based on correctness and coherence of the resulting exercise statements and complementary source codes generated/produced is presented, and the role that this type of technology can play in a programming exercise automatic generation system is discussed.

BibTeX - Entry

  author =	{Freitas, Tiago Carvalho and Costa Neto, Alvaro and Pereira, Maria Jo\~{a}o Varanda and Henriques, Pedro Rangel},
  title =	{{NLP/AI Based Techniques for Programming Exercises Generation}},
  booktitle =	{4th International Computer Programming Education Conference (ICPEC 2023)},
  pages =	{9:1--9:12},
  series =	{Open Access Series in Informatics (OASIcs)},
  ISBN =	{978-3-95977-290-7},
  ISSN =	{2190-6807},
  year =	{2023},
  volume =	{112},
  editor =	{Peixoto de Queir\'{o}s, Ricardo Alexandre and Teixeira Pinto, M\'{a}rio Paulo},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-185058},
  doi =		{10.4230/OASIcs.ICPEC.2023.9},
  annote =	{Keywords: Natural Language Processing, Computer Programming Education, Exercises Generation, Text Generation, Code Generation}

Keywords: Natural Language Processing, Computer Programming Education, Exercises Generation, Text Generation, Code Generation
Collection: 4th International Computer Programming Education Conference (ICPEC 2023)
Issue Date: 2023
Date of publication: 09.08.2023

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