## WeBWorK Main Forum

### Poll of those using WeBWorK in conjunction with Moodle

by Michael Gage -
Number of replies: 12
I'd like to create a list of those using Moodle and WeBWorK together in courses (using either the assignment connection or the question type connection).

(See http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/Moodle_Integration for explanations of these terms.)

I use the assignment connection at the U. of Rochester, but it is not in general use here. I know that Brigham Young University and Acadia University and a few high schools including Ken Appel's group in Dover, NH also use this and that Union College has used the assignment connection in the past.

BYU has also used the question type connection as have a few others.

There have been several questions about these two Moodle-WeBWorK connection in the forum recently. The assignment connection is fairly stable but has not yet had a lot of use -- the question type connection is usable (with care) but is not yet feature complete or completely stable. I would like to get a better idea of who is currently using these bridges or would be interested in using them as well as who might be available to help with development and error checking. (Most of the needed development is on the Moodle side -- using PHP as a language)

If you are in this group please reply to this posting with some short description of your interest and experience to date with the Moodle- WeBWorK integration tools.

Thanks.

-- Mike

### Re: Poll of those using WeBWorK in conjunction with Moodle

by Michael Gage -
From Ken Appel:

Of course, since the Moodle is crucial to us, we will do everything that we are able to help things along. Kevin is more likely
to make major contributions than I am, but I do think that he is quite a strong programmer and quicik learner.
Ken

### Re: Poll of those using WeBWorK in conjunction with Moodle

by Michael Gage -
From George Jennings, CSU Dominquez Hills:

Mike,
We have installed moodle assignment so we can experiment with it but haven't done anything yet.
George Jennings
Calif. State University Dominguez Hills

### Re: Poll of those using WeBWorK in conjunction with Moodle

by Fred Sullivan -
I'm using webwork with moodle assignment for two courses (three sections, with about 75 students total). This is my first time with moodle. I've been using webwork for a couple of years. Some observations:

1. Getting it installed was something of a nightmare, mostly because of problems with perl modules. It would help if there were apache2 specific instructions. Instead, there are apache1 instructions and you have to hunt around in the forums to figure out how to patch them for apache2. I have suggested before that the instructions need to be patched to reflect that failing the webwork2_rpc test does NOT mean that the connection doesn't work.

2. The link seems pretty slow. I'm running moodle and webwork on two virtual machines which right now are on the same server. I'm going to try host-only networking to connect them rather than bridged and see if that helps.

3. The connection is a bit clunky. For example, if I change a due date, I have to delete the assignment from moodle and add it back to get the date changed in the moodle calendar.

Now for the good.

4. I have greatly reduced my administrative overhead (I manage the servers myself) by authenticating moodle against the university's ldap server and allowing anyone with a valid account to enroll. As soon as they log in and enroll in moodle, they can get to the webwork assignments. I don't even have to assign problems to the class in webwork - it's done automagically. Of course, it's possible that a rogue student who's not actually in my course will enroll, but I can easily delete them if that happens.

5. Despite the clunkiness, everything seems to work pretty well. My students are unfamiliar with moodle and webwork (except that those who are repeating diff eqns have seen webwork). I took me telling them several times that they had to actually enroll in the moodle course, since many of them logged in and actually did homework, but didn't enroll. But all was well - all of their webwork submissions were saved. We're in the second week, and things seem to be going pretty smoothly.

6. It's nice to be able Moodle to put up a handout about a particular section in Moodle and have the link to the webwork assignment immediately following it.

7. Overall, it's been a positive experiment (of course, the semester is young).

Fred Sullivan
Wilkes University

### Re: Poll of those using WeBWorK in conjunction with Moodle

by Fred Sullivan -
I just discovered that when I change the due date in webwork, I don't have to delete and recreate the moodle assignment. There's a (BIG, actually) button called update the assignment that takes care of this.

Live and learn.

Fred Sullivan
Wilkes University

### Re: Poll of those using WeBWorK in conjunction with Moodle

by Samuel Lundqvist -
We have been using Webwork since 2006 in our first semester course in mathematics. We have around 200 students. For practicing, we use six problem sets in Algebra and six problem sets in Calculus. We exam 1/3 of the course using three small problem sets in Algebra and three small problem sets in Calculus.

We have also been using Moodle (kurser.math.su.se) for interactive course pages since 2007.

We have now installed wwassignent and overall, we are *really* satisfied with the result. Thanks for a good job!

The big win is that the students does not need to bother with two systems and two types of accounts.

0. We have no problem with speed (Webwork and Moodle are on two different servers).

1. As Fred wrote, Apache2-information was missing in the installation document and although the rpc-test failed, the bridge works fine.

2. We use Shibboleth to authenticate our Moodle server. Our idp return a username containing an "@" and Webwork can't handle "@":s in the usernames. First I tried to hack the Webwork code, but I realized that it would be easier to hack the php code in moodle/auth/shibboleth/index.php and moodle/lib/moodlelib.php, to replace the "@" with _providedby_. (It is just a few lines and I can send them over if someone is interested.)
In my opinion, this is a serious flaw. When users creates their own accounts in Moodle, it is likely that they use an email adress for the username, so it is not only a Shibboleth-problem.

3. Since Moodle-authenticated users is not able to login directly to Webwork, users gets confused when clicking on "Logout" in the Webwork window. They see a login prompt which they can't use. I decided to remove the "Logout" option from Webwork in order to overcome this.

4. The following might be a security issue if students can create their own accounts in Moodle: If there is a local account in webwork with admin-privileges and a student creates a username that agrees with the username of the local account, the student gets admin-privileges on Webwork.

5. Since we use Webwork in exams, we have problem with students accessing course material on the Moodle server. We solved this by setting up a new Moodle server, just for exam. This Moodle server is only used to authenticate through Shibboleth and passing the student into Webwork.

Samuel Lundqvist, Mathematical department at Stockholm University, Sweden.

### Re: Poll of those using WeBWorK in conjunction with Moodle

by Michael Gage -
I've transferred some of the documentation suggestions to:

http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/Moodle_Assignment#Configuration

and to

http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/Instructor_tips_for_Moodle-WW_Assignment_module

There are more people using the wwassignment -- webwork bridge than I had realized -- and we still haven't heard from some places that I know are using it.

If you are using one of the Moodle - WeBWorK bridges please respond to this poll if you haven't already done so. I would like to have a list of users so that we can collectively polish up these Moodle modules (and in particular improve the documentation) and then submit the Moodle modules for inclusion as third party additions to Moodle.

Thanks.

--Mike

### Re: Poll of those using WeBWorK in conjunction with Moodle

by Steven McKay -

BYU's mathematics department has been using moodle for about 4 years.
I have been using webwork in some form or another for 3.

Currently, all of our 112 (Calculus 1) classes use the Webwork Question Type plugin to serve webwork homework assignments. This is about 800-1000 students per semester. One faculty is using this technology in his differential equations course (approx 80 students).

Right now, 2 faculty (of which I am one) are using the wwassignment bridge. This is currently serving approximately 120 students. I have said before in another thread that I will be moving the Calculus 1 classes to the wwassignment bridge as soon as I can get the webwork content out of moodle (which is not easy, as there's a lot of it.)

I prefer wwassignment as a tool because

1. Its easier to author new problems directly on webwork than within moodle.

2. Webwork is more flexible than moodle in assignment of due dates: For example, you can adjust the due date for a single student without the other students even knowing that has been done. In moodle, due date is by assignment and you cannot adjust it for an individual. All you can do is change the due date and assign a password to get into that assignment. All the students will see the change.

3. Student email is more robust and more easily filtered.

4. Student statistics are a bit more useful on webwork than moodle. (though this is minor).

Now, it is possible that this can be fixed in webwork question type. But it seems to me that it's a large task to add these and also fix what I consider are fatal bugs. I would prefer that the minor bugs in wwassignment
(gradebook updating is the main one) be squashed first. And once wwassignment is working, is there really a need for webwork question type?

We are using it because wwassignment would not work on our installation (something to do with soap maybe?). Now that it works, I would rather stick with wwassignment and bag question type. Can someone give me a good reason why you would prefer it (once the issues are fixed)? I admit I was excited about it at first, but I now like my work flow in wwassignment better.

As far as helping with the code, I have programmed in the past but am not a programmer, especially of this type. It would take months for me to understand the code, and I don't have the time.

My CSR has helped to look for bugs in the past, and has been successful in fixing some of them, but he doesn't have much time either. We can and will do error checking if needed. I have considered asking administration to cut loose with some funds to hire someone to help improve the software - if I am successful I'll let you know.

S. McKay

### Re: Poll of those using WeBWorK in conjunction with Moodle

by Eric Wright -
We're using wwassignment together with moodle 1.9 for a couple of classes (perhaps more soon) in the math department at UM-Western. I would use wwquestion if there was more stability. Also I thought I remembered reading that wwquestion was not yet compatible with 1.9. Anyway, when I tried installing it once several months ago, it didn't seem to install. I don't recall the issue and didn't really have the time to pursue it.

UM-Western is a small university and the math department is smaller, so we are running both moodle and WeBWork from a single server. I am happy with the performance of wwassignment so far, but would be thrilled to see two things:
1) Better integration with the gradebook. Automatic updating of grades would be great.
2) If I set up a WeBWork assignment as a proctored quiz, the wwassignment link doesn't seem to like it. I will have to re-generate the error, but I believe it said something about how wwassignment was expecting a homework assignment but got a quiz instead. It's not a huge problem, because students can navigate to the quiz directly and or use the link that comes up with the error to take the quiz. In fairness, this might have been addressed somewhere in the fora. I haven't had the time to follow up with it yet.

Keep up the good work!

### Re: Poll of those using WeBWorK in conjunction with Moodle

by Michael Gage -
I haven't understood the remark below -- which appears in a couple of posts:

1) [Need ] better integration with the gradebook. Automatic updating of grades would be great.

The homework grade information is transferred from WeBWorK to Moodle on a regular basis (hourly if I recall correctly) if Moodle is running its "cron job" facility. (This is for the wwassignment bridge.) The update is not instanteneous, but it is reasonably timely.

Here is the updated relevant segment from the

http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/Moodle_Assignment#Limitations
• Grades are updated from the WeBWorK database to the moodle gradebook using a "cron job" timer. This means that the gradebook is updated every hour or so as long as your Moodle installation is running a cron job. (Moodle will inform the systems administator if the cron jobs are not running.)

Also if you "edit" or "update" a moodle wwassignment this will force all of the WeBWorK data for that assignment to be updated in the Moodle gradebook. You don't actually have to change anything on the "update" page -- the grades will be added once you click the "save" or "save and return" button on the update page.

### Re: Poll of those using WeBWorK in conjunction with Moodle

by Jean-Marc Roy -

SITUATION:

I've been using the WeBWorK question type and question type server at my high school École Secondaire Saint Charles Garnier for the last three years. I have no association with any university and no help from any CSR/IT staff. Our school district policy is that server must be run from the head office which make them basically inaccessible. They run window systems exclusively with a lot of filters to control our students quest for games, YouTube, chat etc.

So I have a home setup, using old clunkers running Fedora with an Apache server and a very limited upload speed. Since Fedora keep getting upgraded every 8 months, I am getting better at installing the system from scratch and preserving the classes information. To date I have used

• Fedora 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11
• Moodle 1.8.? to 1.9.5
• Matthew Leventi question type and question server
• WeBWorK 2.4 and 2.7
• Stack (I am just testing)

Currenty, I run

• Fedora 11:
• Moodle 1.9.5+ (Build 20090805)
• question type patch http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/CONTRIB-1422
• WeBWorK 2.7
I had to edit the Translator.pm file from WeBWorK 2.7 and use the Translator.pm from WebWork 2.4. I replace line 1638 to 1642 of the new version by the corresponding line from the previous translator and everything work OK. I have not figure out why the I need to resort to the old code – I do use html tags rather freely in my problems code and a lot of accents coded as &eacute;.

This system can only sustain a limited number of students – it start to clog down when I have more than 15 students running the system at once which rarely happen except for days before a test. I hope to spend some money on a new server eventually. Around 90 students can use the system each semester and I have around six classes in usage with between 3 to 25 tests per courses (I call them homeworks). Most questions are extracted from the National Problem Library but must be translated in French. In physics, I wrote most of my own questions and I am currently writing some AP style of questions.

Since I have small classes, I don't have to worry about the registration of students and I currently don't know how to setup the sendmail.

RESULTS:

The students are quite intrigue by the whole website. Some are traumatized, other enchanted. Most of my gifted students will redo the homework till they reach the full mark. They organized their own face book network to share clue on how to resolved problem, I use the forum to answer their questions and I encourage them to use maple or their TI89 calculator to reach the answer – reminding them that they should also be able to do it without technology.

At first hand, I would say that the site:

• stimulate the student to do some homework (although it is on a voluntary base in some of the classes),
• help them to share information amongst themselves and make it cool to do math,
• make them acquainted with the technology – they are very creative,
• teach them to be precise in their notations – incredible progress on their answers on class test – specially in physics.

WHISLIST:

As a teacher, maintaining this website is a lot of fun – not share with everyone in the family. I was able to install my first system using the detail manual on the Moodle and WeBWorK site. I would hope for

• more details on how to install and maintain the bridge between Moodle and WeBWorK
• tricks on how to spread the load between several computers – maintain a Raid (this was kind of easy although I am not even sure if it is working properly)– share a common mysql server. This stuff is way above me...
• maintaining/improving the question type and question type server (Matthew Leventi is probably very busy with is new job). Currently I can't
• install a subset of a set of questions in a Moodle Test
• use a weight other than 1 for each question (although I haven't tested this with the latest version)
• support other languages – as is the case for Moodle
• analyze the results of the students on each questions – the report in Moodle are empty for all the WeBWorK questions.
• Hope for more impovement in WeBWorK itself. I spend a good three week with Adobe Flash trying to ActionScript and to write my own french version of the PointGraph.swf file. I am very hopefull about the MathObject and you may find soon my questions on this forum.
• More questions on K8 – K11. These are very challenging questions. You have to deal with a very skeptic public.

Anyway this is all to say that it is possible to maintain – by a tread – a working site with very little mean. There are hundred of thousand high school and middle school teachers that could benefit form this technology.

You can try the site at http://mathOsource.cjb.net/moodle and use “visiteur” for the login and the password. Don't expect a fast response time..

### Re: Poll of those using WeBWorK in conjunction with Moodle

by Michael Gage -
Hi,

Thanks for the information. it sounds like you have some very interesting projects going. I'll comment on this item first, and on others later as I get some time.

WeBWorK 2.7 I had to edit the Translator.pm file from WeBWorK 2.7 and use the Translator.pm from WebWork 2.4. I replace line 1638 to 1642 of the new version by the corresponding line from the previous translator and everything work OK. I have not figure out why the I need to resort to the old code – I do use html tags rather freely in my problems code and a lot of accents coded as é.

My line numbers are slightly different, but I suspect that all you really need to do is to replace any occurrences of EV3P with EV3 in the following lines.

sub default_preprocess_code {
my $evalString = shift; # BEGIN_TEXT and END_TEXT must occur on a line by themselves.$evalString =~ s/^[ \t]*END_TEXT[ \t;]*$/END_TEXT/gm;$evalString =~ s/^[ \t]*END_SOLUTION[ \t;]*$/END_SOLUTION/mg;$evalString =~ s/^[ \t]*END_HINT[ \t;]*$/END_HINT/mg;$evalString =~ s/^[ \t]*BEGIN_TEXT[ \t;]*$/TEXT$$EV3P\(<<'END_TEXT'$$\);/mg;$evalString =~ s/^[ \t]*BEGIN_SOLUTION[ \t;]*$/SOLUTION$$EV3P\(<<'END_SOLUTION'$$\);/mg;$evalString =~ s/^[ \t]*BEGIN_HINT[ \t;]*$/HINT$$EV3P\(<<'END_HINT'$$\);/mg;$evalString =~ s/ENDDOCUMENT.*/ENDDOCUMENT();/s; # remove text after ENDDOCUMENT

$evalString =~ s/\\/\\\\/g; # \ can't be used for escapes because of TeX conflict$evalString =~ s/~~/\\/g;      # use ~~ as escape instead, use # for comments
$evalString; }  The EV3P evaluator has some extra features beyond EV3 which include interpreting items between back quotes (or back ticks). # # Look through a string for ... or ... and use # the parser to produce TeX code for the specified mathematics. # ... does display math, ... does in-line math. They # can also be used within math mode already, in which case they # use whatever mode is already in effect. #  It uses the Formula MathObject which takes formulas written in TI-83 type input language but can output TeX code So for example  (3 +4)/(x^2+1) will become $$\frac{3+4}{x^2+1)$$. Two back quotes are used for display math:  .....  I think the chances are good that the accent grave is causing the trouble unless you write them as HTML entities since it will be interpreted as a formula. The other comment is that if you use HTML code directly then your problems will only run in HTML mode, you can't print them to PDF format via TeX. (At the moment the question type connection can't produce PDF output, due mostly to limitations of at the moodle end -- but we hope to change that.). What you could do is mimic the definitions of left quote$LQ and right quote \$RQ and other items found in PGbasicmacros.pl around line 1250 -- then the correct output would be produced in any mode. If you collect some of the common symbols you need I can help show you how to add them to the PGbasicmacros.pl file.