Category:Authors:New authors landing page

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Most people write problems starting from templates. Problems from the OPL can be modified to suit individual needs, or existing problem templates can be used to create new problems.

  • Problem Techniques This page lists templates for WeBWorK problems in alphabetical order. This collection of templates can also be accessed through the associated category page: Category:Problem Techniques
  • Subject Area Templates Some may find it useful to use this page where templates are ordered by subject area.
  • Sample_Problems A third page with a collection of templates is this page of sample problems. These are very basic examples that illustrate the structure of a WeBWorK problem.

Basic Information

WeBWorK problems are written in Perl, using three levels of macros. PG macros (the Problem Generation language) implement basic code e.g. randomization that sets up the problem. MathObject macros package mathematical entities such as numbers, formulas, vectors, matrices, sets, etc., into objects that behave in a natural way and contain methods for checking students' answers. PGML macros give authors greater control over the problem display and facilitate organizing the PG/MathObjects code in a way that makes the code easier to understand and maintain. Many older problems were written using only PG and MathObjects, or PG alone because MathObjects or PGML weren't available. Authors of new problems are encouraged to use all three levels of macros, except in certain specialized cases where the old methods work best.

All of the templates mentioned above use PG, and most use the PGML and MathObject Macros. (Look for the lines "" and "" in the LoadMacros section of the code). For those who would like to read up on the basics of coding problems the following pages are recommended:

Reference documents and manuals

  • Intro to Problem Authoring Introduction to the basics of Perl, MathObjects, and PGML (Nov 2020) -- includes problem templates
  • Problem Authoring Videos Complete course of streamed recordings from the PREP 2015 Workshop on Problem Authoring
  • Applets, how to embed Flash and Java applets into WeBWorK questions.
  • SequentialProblems revealing the problem one step at a time
  • POD -- POD = "plain old documentation" -- original documentation embedded in the code files -- this is the place to find the most complete and most technical description of macro behaviors.
  • Doxygen Doxygen compiles a list of all the subroutines occurring in all the files from the webwork2 and pg directories. Can be used to find where a macro command is defined.
  • WeBWorK Problem Authoring Tutorial aimed at people who already know TeX, but need to learn about Perl, PG, and MathObjects (pdf file) -- (by Paul Pearson).
  • Customize Course This page includes a bit of code that allows student to obtain a new version of a problem.
  • Notes on training authors, and suggestions for further documentation-- Sam Hathaway
  • The Good Questions project at Cornell University [1]
  • Converting CAPA problems for use with WeBWorK (This article has been retained as a historical document.)


Become a WeBWorK Developer
WeBWorK Contributors - join us! (blog posts)
Learning How to Author Problems
Various tools and tricks for writing problems

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