Moodle Assignment

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(Installation (wwassignment3 and wwassignment4))
(Installation (wwassignment3 and wwassignment4))
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Reboot the webwork server.
Reboot the webwork server.
Some checks:
Try the url <code></code>
This is a simple check and it should return a (complicated) wsdl file.
<code></code> will return a blank page but should not create an error.
== Adding a WeBWorK Problem Set to a course ==
== Adding a WeBWorK Problem Set to a course ==

Revision as of 16:22, 25 May 2008

wwassignment is a Moodle module which defines a new activity that links to a WeBWorK problem set in any WeBWorK installation 2.4 or later. The assignment allows single sign-on (moodle users who select the WeBWorK assignment are automatically logged into WeBWorK) and the grades from the homework assignment are automatically transferred back to the Moodle gradebook. This is ready for use now as an early beta version, but not all of the moodle features (such as backup and restored are implemented) and there are several limitations.

There have been several versions of wwassignment working with different versions of Moodle and WeBWorK. The current versions are wwassignment4 which will work with moodle1.9.x and wwassignment3 which will work with moodle 1.8.x. All versions of wwassignment can be downloaded from the CVS at [1]

wwassignment3 and wwassignment4 are client/server webservice applications. Moodle acts as the client and any webwork installation 2.4 or later can be configured to act as a server.




WeBWorK 2.4.3 or later. Moodle 1.8.x

MySQL 5.x or later (it might also work with MySQL 4.x but it has not been tested.)

wwassignment 4

WeBWorK 2.4.5 or later

Moodle 1.9.x

MySQL 5.x or later (it might also work with MySQL 4.x but it has not been tested.)

Installation (wwassignment3 and wwassignment4)

Check out the wwmoodle module from the WeBWorKCVS repository:

cvs -d co wwmoodle

This will create a wwmoodle directory in the current directory containing subdirectories wwassignment, wwassignment2, wwassignment3 and wwassignment4. For wwassignment3 (respectively wwassignment4) run the command

cd wwassignment4/bin/setup


and follow instructions to create the directory wwassignment in moodle's mod</directory>.

(If you are updating wwmoodle remember to use the -d flag so that new directories can be created.) In wwmoodle type:

cvs update -dP -A</span>

Open Moodle and select "Notification" (you will need administrative privileges on Moodle to do this). After the Moodle database updates have completed, return to the main page and select Modules->Activities->WeBWorK Problem Set to configure the Moodle side of the Moodle-WeBWorK interface:

wwassignment_webworkurl: url of webwork course:

wwassignment_iframewidth: 95%

wwassignment_iframeheight: 500px

wwassignment_rpc_wsdl: url of wsdl file

wwassignment_rpc_key: YourSecretCodeHere</span> This must match the code defined in the WeBWorK installation (see below).

In the WeBWorK installation (with url: ) you must make these modifications.

In the file webwork2/conf/webwork.apache-config uncomment the lines for the SOAP installation in the final stanzas (or add them if they are missing all together).

$ENV{WEBWORK_ROOT} = $webwork_dir;

$PerlConfig .= <<EOF;

########## SOAP installation ##########

# uncomment these three stanzas to use WeBWorK with Moodle

# PerlModule WebworkSOAP

# <Location /webwork2_rpc>
#         PerlHandler Apache::SOAP
#         SetHandler perl-script
#         PerlSetVar dispatch_to "WebworkSOAP"
#         PerlSetVar options "compress_threshold => 10000"
#         Order Allow,Deny
#         Allow from All
# </Location>

# <Location /webwork2_wsdl>
#         PerlSetVar dispatch_to "WebworkSOAP::WSDL"
#         PerlSetVar options "compress_threshold => 10000"
#         PerlHandler WebworkSOAP::WSDL
#         SetHandler perl-script
#         Order Allow,Deny
#         Allow from All
# </Location>

# end of WeBWorK -- Moodle stanzas



Finally you must modify one line at the top of the file:


to include the full domain name of the host of the WeBWorK installation.

use constant RPC_URL => '';

(note the agreement with the stanzas in the webwork.apache-config file.

and modify one line at the top of the file:

webwork2/lib/ to contain your secret code:$WebworkSOAP::SeedCE{soap_authen_key} = "YourSecretCodeHere";

Reboot the webwork server.

Some checks:

Try the url

This is a simple check and it should return a (complicated) wsdl file. will return a blank page but should not create an error.

Adding a WeBWorK Problem Set to a course

  • Choose a Moodle course and select "turn editing on".
  • Add a block called WeBWorK Link (see Moodle instructions for creating blocks if needed)
  • The block will read "Not Connected to WeBWorK". Edit the block and from the drop-down menu select the WeBWorK course that you wish to be associated with this Moodle course. This WeBWorK course and its homework assignments should already have been set up on the WeBWorK server site. The assignments should be "visible" and be "open" i.e. available to students, otherwise the results may be unpredictable. Save changes.
  • Now from "add an activity" select "WeBWorK Problem Set". You will need to fill in the moodle name for the activity and select a corresponding webwork problem set from the drop-down menu. (The menu lists all homework sets currently created in the WeBWorK course.) The other information is related to the moodle activity. (The ID number, available in Moodle 1.9 is for convenience in using the gradebook.)
  • You can continue adding new WeBWorK Problem Set activities to the course in the appropriate weeks. You can also edit previous WeBWorK Problem Set activities and reassign them to a different problem set, although this might cause grading anomalies if some students have already started the assignment.
  • Notice that unlike earlier versions of wwassignment nothing special needs to be done to the WeBWorK course. Any WeBWorK courses on the server can be linked to from Moodle.


  • WARNING: Changing the WW Link association of the Moodle course and a corresponding

WeBWorK course may have unpredictable results. (If the assignments in the new course correspond it might work. )

  • WARNING: The connection between WeBWorK is not (yet) very robust. If you delete a homework set in WeBWorK it has no-way of informing the Moodle activities linked to it and strange behavior may result. You will manually have to delete the moodle assignment. Changing the problems in the homework set will not affect the link -- but may produce unusual results in grading if some students have already done the homework set. (This also applies to using WeBWorK on its own.)
  • Modifications of the due date for the homework set are communicated to some parts of Moodle (e.g. the listing of all WeBWorK Problem Sets) but not all -- notably the calendar page is not updated.
  • Modifications of the due date for individuals are not transmitted to Moodle at all -- the dates on the calendar and in the list of WeBWorK Set Problems will be incorrect for this student -- but the homework sets will work as intended once the student visits the WeBWorK course.
  • New students in a Moodle course automatically have WeBWorK homework sets created for them the first time they click on that Moodle WeBWorK Problem Set assignment. They can revisit the WeBWorK Problem Set to complete questions anytime before the due date for the homework set. However when students drop the course or are deleted, their corresponding assignments are not automatically deleted from WeBWorK.
  • WARNING --DANGER: Any instructor in a Moodle course with the "secret code" of the WeBWorK server can link to any WeBWorK course on the server, thereby installing themselves as an instructor in that WeBWorK course.


The original wwmoodle package was developed by Peter Snoblin at the Truman State University in Missouri to work with WeBWorK 1 (which used CGI technology). It was further developed promoted within the Moodle community by Prof. Zbigniew Fiedorowicz of Ohio State University

The WeBWorK parts were integrated into the official source for WeBWorK2 by Main.SamHathaway. The Moodle parts (wwmoodle and wwmoodleset) were refactored into the original wwassignment module by Main.MichaelGage. wwassignment3 was written by Main.MattLeventy and modified by Main.MichaelGage to create wwassignment4


Requirements (wwassignment and wwassignment2)

These are no longer maintained and are not recommended unless you absolutely must use an early version of moodle. WeBWorK 2.3.x. or later.

Moodle 1.5.x, 1.6.x, or 1.7.x. We tested with version 2005060231 a.k.a. 1.5.3+, and later with some varieties of 1.7.

MySQL 4.1 or later.

The PHP::Serialization Perl module. Available from CPAN.

WeBWorK and Moodle must use the same MySQL server. The account that Moodle uses to log into its database must have SELECT access on the WeBWorK database and the account the WeBWorK uses to log into its database must have SELECT access on the Moodle database.

Moodle must also be able to read the WeBWorK courses directory. This can be a local directory, or it could be some kind of network mount, i.e. NFS. Moodle does not need to write to this directory.

Moodle and WeBWorK need have the same hostname. This is because the client's browser will only send the Moodle cookie to WeBWorK if the hostname matches. (The two applications can be set up on different ports though, so if you absolutely need them on different servers you could set up some kind of router-based port-forwarding. This is also useful if you need to run Moodle on Apache1 and WeBWorK on Apache2.)

(We plan to eliminate the same-server requirements in a future version.)


First, make sure that Moodle is set up to store session data in the database. Log in to Moodle as an administrator and select the "Configuration" option. Scroll down to the "Operating System" section and set the "dbsession" option to "Yes".

Check out the wwmoodle module from the WeBWorKCVS repository:

cvs -d co -D 2006-07-01 wwmoodle

(Only the versions of wwassignment written by Gage prior to July 1 of 2006 correspond to the description here. Later versions written by Leventi and wwassignment2 progress toward the creation of wwassignment3. )

This will create a wwmoodle directory in the current directory. Move the wwassignment subdirectory to your Moodle mod directory.

cd wwmoodle
mv wwassignment /path/to/moodle/mod
cd /path/to/moodle

Create symlinks to the language files in the proper locations.

cd /path/to/moodle/lang/en
ln -s ../../mod/wwassignment/lang.php wwassignment.php
cd help
ln -s ../../../mod/wwassignment/help wwassignment

If you're using the utf8 encoding, move the files into the en_utf8 directory instead of the en directory. (Or do both.)

The advantage of symlinking is that a cvs up from the wwassignment directory will be able to update the language files. Some people have reported problems when symlinking. If this is your experience, just move the files instead:

cd /path/to/moodle/lang/en
mv ../../mod/wwassignment/lang.php wwassignment.php
cd help
mv ../../../mod/wwassignment/help wwassignment

Log in to Moodle as an administrator and select the "Admin..." option. At this point, Moodle will set up the wwassignment module.

Then, select the "Configuration" option and then the "Modules" option. Click the "Settings" link next to "WeBWorK Problem Set" to configure the module.

Option Description
wwassignment_webworkcourses This is the path to the WeBWorK courses directory. It should be set to the same value as the $webwork_courses_dir variable in global.conf, except that in this case it needs to end with a slash.
wwassignment_webworkurl The URL where WeBWorK is accessible. By default, this is /webwork2. If WeBWorK is on a different port, you'll need the full URL. This should be the same value as $webwork_url in global.conf. It does not need a trailing slash.
wwassignment_iframewidth Width of frame in which WeBWorK problem sets are embedded.
wwassignment_iframeheight Height of frame in which WeBWorK problem sets are embedded.

There are a few settings that need to be made in global.conf as well:

Option Description
$moodle_dsn The DSN for the moodle database. Default: "dbi:mysql:moodle". Corresponds to dbtype, dbhost, and dbname in Moodle's config.php.
$moodle_table_prefix The prefix to prepend to Moodle table names. Default: "mdl". Corresponds to prefix in Moodle's config.php.
$moodle_username The username to use when connecting to the Moodle database. Default: same as WeBWorK database username. Corresponds to dbuser in Moodle's config.php.
$moodle_password The password to use when connecting to the Moodle database. Default: same as WeBWorK database password. Corresponds to dbpass in Moodle's config.php.


Once you've set this up, you should notice a new WeBWorK Problem Set activity in the list of activities you can add to your course. The form for creating WeBWorK problem sets includes two interesting links.

The first is Create the WeBWorK course. This links you to the WeBWorK Course Administration page, with the name of the course pre-filled and the sql_moodle database layout preselected. This link shows up whether or not the course has already been created, so you may get an error is the course already exists.

The second is Administer the WeBWorK portion of this course. This links you to the WeBWorK Instructor Tools page, where you can configure problem sets. You can also view, but not edit, the User List.

WeBWorK theme for Moodle

The moodle WeBWorK theme is a modified version of the default math theme. It detects when WeBWorK is called from within a Moodle frame, and removes superfluous interface elements. It also expands the Moodle frame so that it doesn't have to scroll.

Set the theme by changing the value of $defaultTheme in global.conf (for all courses) or a specific course's course.conf (for just that course). This value can also be set for a particular course using the Course Configuration page.

Moodle authentication rules

Moodle administrators are allowed to log into any WeBWorK sql_moodle course. They are assigned permission level 10.

Moodle teachers are allowed to log into only their corresponding WeBWorK sql_moodle course. They also get permission level 10.

Moodle students are allowed to log into only their corresponding WeBWorK sql_moodle course. They get permission level =0=.

Moodle groups are mapped to WeBWorK recitations, unless the group begins with SEC_, in which case, it is mapped to a WeBWorK section (with the SEC_ prefix is removed).

sql_moodle admin course

The WeBWorK course administration system can be configured to authenticate against a Moodle course.

First, create a Moodle course with the short name admin. This course doesn't need to have any participants or any content.

If you haven't created your WeBWorK admin course yet, select the sql_moodle database layout when you do.

If you've already created your WeBWorK admin course, edit its course.conf file to change the $dbLayoutName to sql_moodle.

You will be able to log into the admin course using the credentials of any Moodle administrator. If you would like to grant access to non-administrators, make them teachers in the Moodle admin course.


Course naming

The name of the WeBWorK course that is associated with a given Moodle course is fixed. The system takes the short name of the Moodle course and removes any non-alphanumeric characters. This value is then stored. If you have two Moodle courses with identical short names (modulo non-alphanumeric characters), they will be associated with the same WeBWorK course. The behavior in this case is not defined.

We intend to make the name of the linked WeBWorK course configurable, and prevent two Moodle courses from being associated with the same WeBWorK course.

Set assignment

In Moodle, activities are always assigned to all participants in a course. However, you still have to assign WeBWorK homework sets to students using the WeBWorK instructor tools -- this is not done automatically.

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