WeBWorK Problems

choice/timing/formatting of display for extra stuff

choice/timing/formatting of display for extra stuff

by Dick Lane -
Number of replies: 0
Display of optional stuff does not behave as described in several wiki documents.  I suggest three changes in behavior --- in any event, documentation needs to be coordinated with actual behavior.

1]  http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/Release_notes_for_WeBWorK_2.4.9 says "HINTS and SOLUTIONS now are always shown to instructors".  As an instructor viewing an individual problem, I may see checkboxes for "Show Answers", "Show Hints", "Show Solutions".

a)  "Show Answers": shows code if checked but no answer written, but shows typeset version if an answer is submitted --- reasonable behavior

b)  "Show Hints": checkbox is ignored, hint is always shown (on screen and in hardcopy) --- please change so that the checkbox governs (http://webwork.maa.org/moodle/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=2421#p4935 suggests a kludge for hardcopy which should not be necessary).

c) "Show Solution": checkbox behaves appropriately

FIX (please): have the "Show Hints" checkbox (for screen or for hardcopy) actually control the output (for problem on screen, but for assignment in hardcopy).  Change the documentation to announce "an Instructor can choose to see a Hint or Solution, provided the problem's author created them".

2]  My instructor view of problems which have a Hint will always insert a parenthesized remark about number of attempts before a hint is available to a student preceding its display (to me) of {\bf Hint}: text-of-hint.  I (and http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/AnswerHints) inferred that "{\bf Hint}:" would be generated automatically --- not true (as of WW 2.4.9), the problem author must supply "{\bf Hint}" in some fashion, e.g, by using "$HINT".  This seems to imply the several documents citing the new (and welcome) syntax BEGIN_HINT/END_HINT need (!!) to have their examples include "$HINT":

    It might be convenient to recognize \( x^2 - $a^2 \) can be factored.

    Note: this use of "$HINT" is consistent with the current need to use "$SOLUTION" with BEGIN_SOLUTION/END_SOLUTION.  In hindsight, since the release notes for 2.4.9 were explicit about BEGIN_HINT as a translation for a particular Perl "here-document", I should not have overlooked the need for "$HINT" --- OTOH, the non-optional display of every Hint for an instructor is needlessly confusing.

3]  The timing for display to a student of the checkbox "Show Hint" seems to have an off-by-one error.  I've attached HintTest.tgz which has 8 PG and 1 DEF files.  File a.pg has no hint, b.pg has a plain hint, c.pg inserts a blank line preceding the hint, and d.pg inserts "$Hint" preceding the actual hint;
as.pg ... ds.pg just enable a line "$showHint = 2 ;" preceding the hint.  The following table summarizes when checkbox or hint actually appear to a student.

checkbox   hint
shown       shown
a.pg  never          never
b          0               3        checkbox before any answer
c          0               3        hint only after third answer
d          0               3
as.pg   never        never
bs         2               4        checkbox after second answer
cs         2               4        hint only after fourth answer
ds         2               4

    For the first block of 4 examples, I am comfortable with the "Show Hint" checkbox being displayed on first view of the problem, but would like a student checking that and submitting an answer to have the response include a page with the Hint shown after the first answer (whether correct or not) rather than deferred until the 3rd answer submitted.

    For the second block of 4 examples, I think it is bad behavior for the system to display a "Show Hint" checkbox, accept an answer submission but withhold the requested hint until the second subsequent submission of an answer.  (I.e., we can quibble about labeling for the second column, but the third column values must be only larger by one).