This paper describes early experiences with the Ceilidh system currently being piloted at over 30 institutions of higher education. Ceilidh is a course‐management system for teaching computer programming whose core is an auto‐assessment facility. This facility automatically marks students programs from a range of perspectives, and may be used in an iterative manner, enabling students to work towards a target level of attainment. Ceilidh also includes extensive course‐administration and progress‐monitoring facilities, as well as support for other forms of assessment including short‐answer marking and the collation of essays for later hand‐marking. The paper discusses the motivation for developing Ceilidh, outlines its major facilities, then summarizes experiences of developing and actually using it at the coal‐face over three years of teaching
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