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Lars Jensen - Webwork for more than problems?

Lars Jensen - Webwork for more than problems?

by Arnold Pizer -
Number of replies: 0
inactiveTopicWebwork for more than problems? topic started 3/5/2003; 1:48:16 PM
last post 3/6/2003; 2:06:42 PM
userLars Jensen - Webwork for more than problems?  blueArrow
3/5/2003; 1:48:16 PM (reads: 1276, responses: 6)
Can Webwork be used for other on-line curricular material than problems? For example can one put in lecture notes, explanations or comments of before, between, or after the problems?

It would be nice to be able to precede the the problem sets with a set of lecture notes...

Thanks, Lars.

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userMike Gage - Re: Webwork for more than problems?  blueArrow
3/5/2003; 4:21:09 PM (reads: 1574, responses: 0)
Hi Lars,

I use the file to introduce the material that will be covered in a problem set. Short notes fit nicely in that file, longer notes or pdf copies of TeXed lecture notes can also be linked to from that page.

In the set definition file I set the header files as follows:


openDate = 1/03/03 at 6:00am
dueDate = 1/31/03 at 6:00am
answerDate = 1/31/03 at 11:00am
paperHeaderFile =
screenHeaderFile =
problemList =

Notice that I use the same file for both the paperHeaderFile and the screenheaderFile. Within the file itself I have some material which is printed for TeX output and some which is printed for output to the screen.

Here is an example of the file I use:





TEXT(MODES(TeX =>EV3(<<'EOT'),HTML=>"",Latex2HTML=>""));
\noindent {\large \bf $studentName}
\noindent {\large \bf MTH 143 $sectionNumber Spring 2003}



$BBOLD WeBWorK assignment number $setNumber is due : $formattedDueDate. $EBOLD

(This is early Friday morning, so it needs to be done THURSDAY night!)
Remember to get this done early!
The \{ htmlLink(qq!!,"home page") \}
for the course contains the syllabus, grading policy, and other information.


The material is covered in
Chapters 11.1 and 11.2 of Stewart.

Sequences can do one of four things $BR
(1) Go to positive infinity $BR
(2) Go to negative infinity $BR
(3) Oscillate $BR
(4) Converge $BR

For a series whose $LQ velocity $RQ terms are positive the sequence
of partial sums must increase, hence possibilities (2) and (3) are eliminated.
If you can show that the sum (i.e. the total distance)
doesn't go to infinity then it MUST converge. That
is the basis of all of the comparison tests! That's all there is to it, just
possibility (1) to show that the series converges.

The primary purpose of WeBWorK is to let you know that you are
getting the correct answer or to alert
you if you are making some kind of mistake. Usually you
can attempt a problem as many times as you want before
the due date. However, if you are having trouble
figuring out your error, you should
consult the book, or ask a fellow student, one of
the TA's or
your professor for help. Don't spend a lot of time
guessing -- it's not very efficient or effective.
Give 4 or 5 significant digits for (floating point) numerical answers.
For most problems when entering numerical answers,
you can if you wish
enter elementary expressions such as \( 2\wedge3 \)
instead of 8, \( sin(3*pi/2) \)instead
of -1, \( e\wedge (ln(2)) \) instead of 2,
\( (2+tan(3))*(4-sin(5))\wedge6-7/8 \) instead
of 27620.3413, etc.
Here's the
\{ htmlLink(qq!!,
"list of the functions") \}
which WeBWorK understands.
You can use the Feedback button on
each problem
page to send e-mail to the professors.


# This should be the last executable line in the problem.

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userLars Jensen - Re: Webwork for more than problems?  blueArrow
3/6/2003; 12:45:00 AM (reads: 1458, responses: 0)
Hi Mike,

Thanks for the answer. I agree that one could use the screen header page for some brief explanatory material. I was thinking about the ability to include some more substantial material, like a set of lecture notes. Basically my question is whether I can use webwork in this way:

Make each webwork Problem Set look like a Chapter of an online textbook, so that the content of a "Problem Set" would look like this on the "Problem List" page:

Subtopic 1
Subtopic 2
Subtopic 3
Subtopic 4
Problem 1
Problem 2
Problem 3
Problem 4
Where the Subtopics are subtopics of the chapter topic being covered.

It seems that all that webwork has all the capability needed to handle this. It would allow me to publish all my lecture notes on a given topic, naturally followed by a set of homework problems.


PS: I tried to include the header file above from you as a problem page, but got errors.

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userMike Gage - Re: Webwork for more than problems?  blueArrow
3/6/2003; 10:01:36 AM (reads: 1479, responses: 0)
Hi Lars,

The current webwork doesn't easily provide for the insertion of non-problem material as a problem. Brief material can be inserted in the screenHeader page as above, and it is also possible to link to more substantial lecture notes (which I usually distribute in pdf form).

The example above does not run out of the box, but will have to be modified slightly in order to work. I inserted several

tags and several backslashes in order to make the code display properly on the bulletin board -- they will have to be removed.

In addition the links may not be correct on your machine and could give errors.

Finally, if you insert this as a problem, rather than as a screenHeader file, you will get warnings about "this problem does not ask any questions". That particular safety feature is one that could probably be modified fairly easily, if it is the only thing standing in the way of inserting non-problem material between problem sections.

WeBWorK 2.0 has much more flexibility in this regard, in principle, but we are still largely working on implementing the current behavior of WeBWorK in the new, more flexible format. Expanding the possibilities will come later.

By the way, you should also take a look at the thread about moodle which Zig Fiedorowicz started. (

-- MIke

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userLars Jensen - Re: Webwork for more than problems?  blueArrow
3/6/2003; 11:30:30 AM (reads: 1471, responses: 0)
Hi Mike,

Thanks again for answering. It sounds like WebWorK 2.0 is going to be able to do this.

Moodle looks like a great "shell" for webwork - I have looked at, in fact installed, Zig's setup - it is great. The problem with moodle from a math/science point of view is that it is not easy to put math (Latex) into it. The only option I see is to copy the output of tth into a moodle resource, and that is kind of messy (plus it doesn't work in all browsers, like dvipng does).

Webwork has such a nice way of handling math that if one could include lecturenotes in webwork, then when combined with moodle, we would really have a very complete math/science on-line course delivery tool.


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userZbigniew Fiedorowicz - Re: Webwork for more than problems?  blueArrow
3/6/2003; 1:57:54 PM (reads: 1441, responses: 0)
Hi Lars,

How about converting your Latex to pdf format? Also you don't need to keep your math. pages inside Moodle. You can create them outside Moodle with various tools like latex2html and then link to them from Moodle.


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userZbigniew Fiedorowicz - Re: Webwork for more than problems?  blueArrow
3/6/2003; 2:06:42 PM (reads: 1438, responses: 0)
Let me just add a slight correction to Mike's post. The link for downloading Moodle is, NOT


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