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Thomas R. Shemanske - Small WeBWorK2 questions

Thomas R. Shemanske - Small WeBWorK2 questions

by Arnold Pizer -
Number of replies: 0
inactiveTopicSmall WeBWorK2 questions topic started 6/11/2004; 8:24:30 AM
last post 6/11/2004; 8:52:11 AM
userThomas R. Shemanske - Small WeBWorK2 questions  blueArrow
6/11/2004; 8:24:30 AM (reads: 790, responses: 1)
For a change I have only a couple of small questions regarding "features", but not in the sense of Bugzilla.

If it matters (and it may), I am using mysql as the backend.

The first regards "publishing a set".  When a setdef file is created and imported, the database records are created, but the set is not published in the sense that it is unavailable to students.  One can go to the set list page, edit the set and check the box to publish it.  Alternatively, it appears that as soon as an instructor views any problem in the set, it is automatically published.

I am not sure the latter is what is desired, since the instructor probably wants to inspect the set before turning it loose for the students (yes; I know you can control the open date).   With the WW1.x series, I always had a test account where I checked things out, opened problems up to TAs well in advance, but I thought about doing away with that with WW2.  But I am unsure about the intent of this "published" state, and in particular, whether one can import a set and automatically have it published.

The second question regards the order in which problem sets are listed on the "Problem sets" page.  The order appears to be the order in which the sets were built.  Once there, you can click on the column labeled "status" and resort by that, though I am not exactly sure what that means (ascending order of due date with closed sets at the bottom?).  You cannot sort by name, though if you change the URL for sorting by status to include sort=name, it will not only sort by name, but give you a page where sort by name is a link and the status identifier is not active.   Independent of either of those, I can see a real use for sorting by an instructor assigned sort order. 

For example, I am now building a course with lots and lots of sets, but have been building them in an order different from the order they will be presented in the course.  It seems my only option is that once the entire course is ready, delete all the data sets from the database and recreate them in the order I wish to see them appear.  For this particular course, that happens not to be a problem, but I can easily see a course where a topic gets inserted midterm and where you want it to appear in an order which the students will find natural (ok, I'll settle for the instructors finding it natural).  I have not looked too closely at the database, but my guess is that this might require a new field in the db, probably not what you want.

Anyway, just looking for feedback



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userMichael Gage - Re: Small WeBWorK2 questions  blueArrow
6/11/2004; 8:52:11 AM (reads: 1040, responses: 0)
I'll comment on the "published" results. In the version in the CVS as of today:

A set can be built without being assigned to anyone. (If you use GDBM, the set is technically defined to "global_user" to mimic the behavior of an sql database -- but that doesn't count :-) ). In order for a student to see a set on the assignment page, (1) the set must be assigned to a student, (2) the set must be visible. In order to do the set, the time must be between the open and due dates.

The "visible" attribute is now assigned to be true automatically. If a set is made "invisible" then the set cannot be seen by students, but all of the assignments (e.g. choice of seeds for the problems) are preserved. As an instructor you can inspect these problems to make sure they are working alright. You can temporarily make a set invisible and then make it visible again without changing any parameters. If you were to unassign a set from a student and then reassign it, all of the parameters would change.

This "visible/invisible" feature has gone through several changes (it was originally called "published/unpublished") and depending on your version the default might be either visible or invisible. The current default (June 11) is that everything is automatically visible unless you explicitly specify that it is not. This way you can completely ignore the feature if you wish.

As to ordering the sets -- I'll let Robert Van Dam handle that discussion. An important question is what would be the most desirable user interface for allowing the instructor to specify the order? -- Mike

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