Is anyone using the WirisEditor (MathType) for answer entry in WeBWorK? I am curious if students find it helpful. Also, once a license is purchased for the editor, how is it made accessible to WeBWorK so that an instructor can activate it via the Course Configuration option? We are hosting WeBWorK on our own server, so I do have administrator access.
For now all that is needed is to enable Wiris in the CourseConfiguration page.
You can try it here: http://demo.webwork.rochester.edu/webwork2/WIRIS_demo/
login as guest with a cell phone to see the handwriting entry feature.
At the university of rochester there is not a lot of interest in this feature. Our calculus students, after a short period of complaining, find it much easier to type in answers than to use either MathView or Wiris, particularly on a computer. As more usage switches to tablets and phones and handwriting recognition gets better this may change. Institutions with more math courses below the calculus level may also have a different take on the usefulness of these touchpad entry methods.
There are still some things missing from the Wiris view (preserving answers for example) but the Wiris folks have been very cooperative and if some group of users were seriously interested in using the wiris tools for regular classes they would probably be responsive. I think they would be quite pleased to have a group of eager beta testers.
My understanding is that the charge would be for using the handwriting entry ability which requires a request to their server. For now they seem to be allowing a moderate amount of traffic for free as people try this out.
See also the discussion about alternative entry methods
here -- on the github issue page:
That thread discusses MathQuill -- another possibility for enhanced entry of equations and (near the bottom) a lower tech chrome app that Jeremy Spiro wrote for his classmates here at Rochester. You can install the chrome app yourself on your chrome browser. Someone could probably write a port for Firefox, and possibly even Safari.
Thanks for the detailed response. On our WeBWork server (ver 2-13), the only option in the CourseConfiguration page is to turn the MathView editor on or off. There is no option for the Wiris editor. I was assuming a school would have to buy some type of license from Wiris to use their software in WeBWorK. Most of the students who come to my office with homework questions seem to be accessing WeBWorK on a laptop, not a mobile device, so it sounds like from the experience at Rochester that we should just leave things as is for now.
I should have said that the configuration switch was added in version 2.14.
If you bring up a development server running a later version you might see what students in some smallish class think of Wiris input. It might be effective, particularly in pre-calc classes.
I think eventually the idea is that the student would, after some trial period, pay Wiris a fee directly for use of their server in reading the handwriting input.
I think Wiris would appreciate the interest and the beta testing.