2009 03 tasks

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A summary of the discussion during the video conference of March 11, 2009 during which we outlined tasks for the summer of 2009.


Documentation tasks

  1. Getting started -- a roadmap for finding information in the WeBWorK wiki
    1. Make clear pathways for beginners for each of these topics.
      1. How do I find out what WeBWorK is and what it is capable of (i.e. range of problem types and subject matter)?
      2. How do I get started using WeBWork to teach a course?
      3. How to get started writing problems for WeBWorK?
      4. What is the history/background of WeBWorK and its support community?
    2. Current participants/volunteers:
      1. Jason Aubrey, Malcolm Harper, Bruce, general
      2. Peter Staab -- (3) writing problems -- Particularly improving the Fraction and Rational expression capabilities.
      3. Rewrite Shamanske's newbie guide using MathObjects ---MIke Gage???
      4. Add more examples to the "problem techniques section" --- volunteers?
    3. Making clear pathways for beginners is a particularly important project and I encourage more people to volunteer to help out with the writing and editing. Particularly people relatively new to WeBWorK. They have a fresh eye for discerning what is needed to make it easy for newcomers to learn about WeBWorK. Once you know where all the information is "hidden" it becomes harder to create good introductions. You can write me if you are interested. -- gage at math.rochester.edu ---Mike
  2. Constructing complete courses on common subjects with "exemplary" homework questions:
    1. Model_pre_calculus course
      1. Robin Cruz, Doug Mogamo, Peter Staab -- are adding problems to this site (contact rcruz at math.collegeofidaho.edu to help)
    2. Model_calculus course
      1. moodle view of Model_calculus course
      2. Mike Gage -- converting problems currently used at U. of Rochester in first semester calculus to use MathObjects (gage at math.rochester.edu)

Coding Tasks

  1. Core WeBWorK code updates:
    1. Refactor grading code in Grades, Student Progress and scoring -- Jason Aubrey and Mike Gage
    2. Improve display of student statistics (can we create graphs for easy display?) -- Jason Aubrey
    3. Mail merge fixes, improved defaults for scoring and for number of attempts -- Arnie Pizer (see AIM07/Working Groups)
    4. Create unique ids for users, homework sets, and questions which are NOT their names. (allowing one to change a user name, or to change the position of a question in a homework set without changing its data, or to rename a set without duplicating it.)
  2. Authoring features
    1. Flash applets -- Barbara Margolious and Mike Gage -- finish the applet API and create a course of examples in flash and java.
    2. Merge the MathObjects matrix class with the RealMatrix1 class -- no takers yet
    3. Multipart/ sequential problems (see AIM07/Working Groups)
    4. Graphics (see AIM07/Working Groups)
  3. NationalProblemLibrary
    1. Ongoing task of cleaning the tags, updating tags and maintaining the library AIM-WeBWorK_Problem_Library_Group_report
    2. Investigate analyzing WeBWorK data to see which NPL problems are effective or ineffective, hard or easy
    3. The Stewart calculus problems created by the UCSantaBarbara need to be tagged and placed in the NPL
  4. Installation updates -- Arnie Pizer
    1. Update installation instructions for specific unix releases
    2. Update the liveDVD and liveUSB.
    3. Make it possible to install a system from a liveDVD.

Design Tasks

  1.  !! long term - Rewrite WeBWorK database to have fewer tables but more records and more "Joins" (use moodle database as a model) -- no takers yet.
  2.  !!! More long range -- need a group to design the organizing structure (software and submission/maintenance procedures) of a 2nd generation NPL


  1. Set up a program to analyze server log data
    1. Mike will find old attempt to do this
  2. Find which plugins are available for mediaWiki and make them available for improving documentation. (spreadsheets? forums? other?)
  3. Investigate using docbook for source documents that can be printed to either the wiki or to PDF hardcopy.
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